Spanish Mentality

Spaniards are characterized by their pronounced sociability. In business, Spaniards like to show themselves professionally. However, they also like amusing people in business.

Spaniards feel comfortable when they are with friends or family. Family is very important in Spain. This does not only mean the family in the narrower sense, but also distant relatives are included. In total, 20 people can quickly come together. Spanish families feel much more connected to each other than people from other European countries. They support each other; no one is alone. In Spain, people count for something if they belong to a group; loners have a hard time in Spain. Even in their decisions, they are guided by what is best for the group.

Even the greeting with Spaniards is more cordial. People hug each other and do not simply shake hands. Spaniards would perceive the latter as distant. On the phone, Spaniards do not usually answer by name. You have to recognize from the voice or figure out from the context who is calling you. Spaniards expect you to recognize them.

Spaniards are very temperamental, which translates into loud discussions. Unlike people from many other nations, Spaniards talk with a lot of facial expressions and gestures. They can be motivated in a particularly emotional way. They are creative and committed to their ideas. But they are also very flexible.

Spaniards do not cling to plans. They like to improvise and thus achieve unexpected, innovative results. They work creatively and recognize situational opportunities, which they also take advantage of. Because of their love of rules and comparative stubbornness, Germans are often referred to by Spaniards as squareheads.

They are relaxed, don’t like to be driven by deadlines and sometimes start work quite late, but then finish it on time.

Example: Before the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, not only the venues for the sporting competitions, but the entire city was one big construction site. Until shortly before the opening of the Games, no outsider would have thought that the preparations could be completed on time. And yet it was. During the last weeks, work was done day and night (under flood light). The result was impressive.

Appointments with Spaniards are best made spontaneously, while Germans, after consulting their appointment calendars, make appointments several weeks in advance, but then keep these appointments meticulously. Making appointments with Spaniards well in advance is rather difficult. They are not used to that.

However, with Spaniards you must expect delays of up to 30 minutes. This is normal for them; no Spaniard needs to apologize for this. Business meetings with Spaniards also often start late.

Many Spaniards are not good at foreign languages. Therefore, it helps foreigners tremendously if they speak Spanish well. With the language also develops an understanding of the culture of the Spaniards.

Before meetings, Spaniards like to have coffee with their business partners, but not on the premises where the meeting is to be held. This gathering is to break the ice before any factual issues are discussed or negotiated in the meeting room. In meetings, all opinions are heard, but in the end, one person, the boss, decides. Hierarchical thinking is still strong in Spain. Don’t be surprised if Spaniards you negotiate with tell you at the end of the conversation that they will ask their boss for approval. In Spanish hierarchies, the powers of middle management are quite limited. On the other hand, Spaniards maintain open communication across hierarchies, free from distinctions of status.

Business relationships are strengthened at business dinners. During these business dinners, business is not discussed. Business is only discussed over coffee at the end of the meeting. Business deals are made after the meal, not before.

Spaniards express much more emotion than Germans. They are warmer and more cordial in their communication, constantly spouting compliments and also getting much closer physically when speaking than Germans are used to. Touching during a conversation is completely normal for Spaniards; it is also not uncommon in business dealings. Touch signals closeness. The comfort distance is much smaller with Spaniards than with Germans.

You will not receive criticism from Spaniards as long as Spaniards like you. If they don’t like you (anymore), they will simply avoid direct contact with you. Also, do not criticize a Spaniard. You could hurt their pride and lose them completely.

There are big differences between Spaniards from the northern half of the country and Spaniards from the southern half. Northern Spaniards can be counted on. They tend to be modest in their demeanor and tend to practice understatement. You are often surprised at how much they know and what they can do. But they would never brag about it. Northern Spaniards are extremely loyal employees. Southern Spaniards are more extroverted and tend to be confident. However, there is no harm in questioning one statement or another. In the south of Spain, people are very fun-loving. Due to the climate, Spaniards in the hot areas of the country avoid working at midday. Instead, they take a siesta until 5 p.m. and then work into the evening hours. But then they can be found in the squares until midnight.

Spaniards like to stay in their own country. They don’t like to go abroad on vacation and also avoid business trips abroad if possible.

Look also to the British mentality, the Swiss mentality, the Austrian mentality, the Dutch mentality, the Scandinavian mentality, the French mentality, the Turkish mentality, the US-American mentality, the Italian mentality, the Latin American mentality, the Indian mentality, the Chinese mentality, the Japanese mentality, the Russian mentality, and the Arab mentality.


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