Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mexican Business Etiquette: E-mail

I know some of you may be thinking, "I already know how to write an e-mail...what could be so different in Mexico?  E-mail is e-mail."  While the technical aspects of writing and sending an e-mail may be the same, the content is very different.  Let me show you an example of what I mean.  Let's say you were waiting for someone in Mexico to send you an important report on Tuesday morning.  Tuesday afternoon rolls around and you still haven't received anything.



From: John Doe
To: Juan Perez
Subject:  Urgent Report

Hi Juan,

You promised to have that report to me this morning.  What happened???  Please send it ASAP!!!

John Doe



From: Roberto Gonzalez
To: Juan Perez
Subject:  Urgent Report

Dear Juan,

How are you?  I hope everything is going well for you and your family.  I saw your kids the other day and they are growing up so fast!!  We should really get our families together sometime soon to have dinner or something....

Anyways, do you happen to have the report ready?  My boss is coming down hard on me and you could really help me out if you sent it over.  I would really, really appreciate it!!!


See the difference?  I know some of you may be thinking, "But why should I kiss Juan's a** if he OWES me the report and he's already late?".  To you, it may seem counterintuitive, but guess which e-mail will get a positive response?  E-mail number 2.  It's not about kissing anyone's a**, it is about showing concern for the person behind the e-mail.  In Mexico, it is very important to show that you care.  That is a major difference that you will notice while doing business in Mexico.  So, in conclusion, when writing an e-mail to someone in Mexico, try not to be so "to the point".  Remember to ask people how they are doing once in awhile, it can't hurt you.


  1. This is very true of doing biz in most developing countries, the person has to be considered in its entirety (not just as an employee or supplier). So you have to talk to the father, the husband the friend and probably last, the business contact.
    Very good post.

  2. ... unless you do business with a medium or large company in large cities like Mexico City... asking the receptionist or an account manager about their family would definitely be going too far. Communicating politely is much appreciated, more so than asking someone about people you don't know. This is true in many cultures outside the US.