Jamaica: Conversation



When you are meeting a Jamaican business contact for the first time, show respect and do not try to be overly familiar or friendly. Shake his hand and look him directly in the eye. After your contact gets to know you, he will typically greet you warmly and ask you to call him by his first name or nickname. It is very common to hear the terms “bossman” or “bosswoman” in Jamaica. Some Jamaicans also stand very close when talking, and touch the arm or shoulders of other men.

Business culture in Jamaica is typically based on respect and politeness. When first meeting a Jamaican business contact, he may seem cold and standoffish, but he will typically “warm up” after he gets to know you. Jamaicans are usually direct, and they appreciate when you are direct with them. They value tact and manners, and do not appreciate aggressiveness. Relationships are important to Jamaicans, and they are sometimes valued more than the rules.

At the end of an appointment, your host will rise or will shift the dialogue to some “small talk”; take the cue.