In Brazil, the clocks tick slowly. In general, people take a lot of time over small talk and face-to-face conversations. Therefore, it may well be that, at the beginning of the meeting, your Brazilian business partners or colleagues inquire in detail about how you are, make a joke or offer a compliment and chat about other things, while you are perhaps getting anxious because you finally want to start your presentation.
Use the warm-up phase to strengthen your personal relationship with your Brazilian business partners or colleagues and create a good atmosphere in the room. By the way, take some time to check the technology in the meeting room before your presentation. And don’t be surprised if your Brazilian partners do the same!
PowerPoint is definitely the right tool for presentations in Brazil. You should make an effort and make sure that the PowerPoint slides are visually appealing. Instead of dry data and facts, Brazilians like pictures or even a short film that tells the company’s history, for example.
However, your Brazilian partners will care more about what you tell them, rather than what you show on the slides. As the presenter, the focus is on you. Brazilians pay great attention to the person standing in front of them, whether they like them or not. In Brazil, everything is about personal relationships. If the presenter is unfriendly and inaccessible, this could seriously jeopardize your business relationship.
Just as important, is really demonstrating your competence. You are expected to be able to master your subject perfectly, and to talk about it freely. The PowerPoint presentation should be considered mainly as a kind of accompanying summary. So don’t make the mistake of putting all the details on your slides and then reading them out. The more relaxed and laid- back you are, the sooner Brazilians will be convinced. As previously said, Brazilians expect you to convince them as a person. The subject does not speak for itself.
So make sure you don’t look too stiff. Brazilians like to laugh and especially appreciate it when someone can be self-ironic. Short stories related to your project idea are also positive, or you can talk about your own experiences. Try to provide a complete picture of your project. Present the numbers, but also detail how the project was developed, and don’t hesitate to approach the context.
It is a nice gesture having your presentation available on USB sticks for all the participants. You could do it on a USB stick with your company logo on, which can become a handy souvenir and reminder of your firm. You could also print out your presentation slides as a fact sheet. Brazilians appreciate it if they can follow your talk and have the most important facts in front of them.
Questions and Ending
You will find that Brazilians are very active listeners. Presumably they will show great interest in what you are presenting to them and will not be afraid to ask you questions at any time. If you prefer questions to be asked only at the end of your presentation, you should make it clear. Out of courtesy, however, you should provide a reason for your request. In this case, lack of time is a good reason, for example. However, it would be better to allow questions and either answer them straight away, or postpone the answer, as the questions could entail further discussion.
Speeches by Brazilians are usually rather long. Brazilians like to digress a lot before getting to the point. Therefore, plan the time required very generously, taking this into account in addition to your speaking time.
And at the end of your presentation, you shouldn’t just get up and walk away. At that stage, plan some time for small talk. The more you interact with your Brazilian business partners or colleagues, the more successful your presentations in Brazil will be.