Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, and the excitement of the holiday festival known as Carnival. Is there a place for training in this South American paradise? The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
With a population of more than 185 million, Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest country in the world. A young country with a majority of its population under 21, there is a critical need to educate and train its citizens. Many global organizations have become attracted to this country. A growing middle class has an interest in a variety of goods and services. Over the last decade, inflation has been tamed, which has created a positive business environment. Brazilian leadership has encouraged foreign investment, and as a result, many foreign companies manufacture items such as automobiles, heavy metals, and consumer products, which are sold to the local market, as well as exported abroad. All these firms need a well-trained workforce for the development of their companies and the development of the Brazilian economy.
Training costs in Brazil range from typical American prices to 10 percent less than what you usually would invest. Program participants expect trainers to display leadership and expertise in the classroom. Trainers should be well organized and enthusiastic. If a trainer does not seem to be enjoying the training experience, participants feel disrespected.
Other tips for trainers:
- Building personal relationships is key in Brazilian culture, so talk about yourself. Program participants want to know who you are, and what experiences and background you bring to the training room. Without this connection, little learning will take place. Don't rush into course content until you are sure the participants are connecting with you. Be sure the class environment supports your needs and those of the participants. Participants want the trainer to provide them with structure and organization.
- The culture can be formal, so always start by addressing your trainees by their last names. If they prefer you to call them by their first names, they will let you know. When in doubt, always be more formal. Speak clearly and avoid slang and idioms as many Brazilians do not speak English well or at all.
- Always include visuals—in handouts and in your computer presentations. Popular training methods include lectures and small group work. Although small group work can be successful, having participants interact in pairs can serve as another excellent way for them to retain and use new material. Popular topics to present in Brazil include leadership, American business ideas, supervisory skills, creative problem solving, motivation, and customer service.
- Keep in mind the intercultural differences between the U.S. and Brazil, which include how time, space, and power are treated. Time is much more event oriented in Brazil. In terms of personal space, program participants who approach you during class activities may stand much closer to you than you are used to. Power is accepted and respected. Those who have high status positions are not questioned, even when the individual has doubts about a stance taken. Trainers may experience challenges when participants are discussing issues in groups. What may seem like fighting or arguing to a trainer is normal communication behavior in Brazil.
Editor's Note: For more on global training, visit www.trainingmag.com/global to read the article, "Train Employees Locally to Think Globally."
Dr. Neil Orkin is president of Global Training Systems. His organization prepares corporate professionals for global business success. For more information, visit www.globaltrainingsystems.com.