HomeNewsNonverbal communication in Peru: 17 things to observe when doing business there

Nonverbal communication in Peru: 17 things to observe when doing business there

All relationships – human and non-human – are based on communication. From the day that we are born we try to get others to understand what we want and need. As we grow up, we learn different ways to express ourselves in what we say and think – even without being able to say a single word (nonverbal language).

Each culture has a different way of saying things – and not only in the form of language – but also in the way they behave. Nonverbal communication in Peru differs from that of North America, Europe, and so on.

Knowing how to translate all the nonverbal communication is key to a successful business, as quoted by Theo Gold,  the author of Positive Thinking: “Communication is your ticket to success if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively”.

This can be overwhelming when doing business in a foreign country and more so in Latin America, being a relationship-driven business region. Getting a communications agency in Peru can be a huge help.

So you’ve taken the right path to business success. It is time to learn about nonverbal communication in Peru.

What is nonverbal communication?

Nonverbal communication refers to communication that occurs without the use of spoken or written words. It can be conveyed through a range of visible behaviors, including:

  • facial expressions, eye contact and gaze direction
  • hand gestures
  • physical contact
  • posture and movement
  • Paralinguistic cues, such as tone of voice and speech rate
  • personal space
  • appearance, including clothing and accessories
  • environmental factors, such as lighting and background noise

All of these nonverbal cues can play a significant role in communication, helping to convey emotions, attitudes and intentions even when words are not spoken. And each culture has its way of saying things without words.

Peruvian Culture

Peru is an amazing country with a rich culture. Overall, Peruvian culture values personal relationships, warmth and hospitality. It’s essential to show respect to cultural traditions and customs when interacting with Peruvians in both business and social settings.

Its diversity is influenced by a variety of factors such as:

  • indigenous traditions
  • Spanish colonialism
  • modern globalization.

In business, Peruvians tend to be relationship-oriented, and it’s crucial to establish a personal connection before engaging in business negotiations.

If there is a key tip of their culture, it’s to respect elders and those in positions of authority. Communication styles may also be indirect, so it’s important to pay attention to nonverbal cues.

Nonverbal Communication in Peru

Nonverbal communication varies across cultures, and it’s essential to understand them when doing business. There is no use speaking Mandarin with a Peruvian. Nonverbal language is the same.

As with any communication, behaviors are part of a rich culture and there are many details and aspects to be considered. Here are 17 nonverbal behaviors to watch out for when doing business in Peru. Here you will see them in 4 groups:

  • gestures
  • physical contact
  • personal space
  • extra tips

Keep reading to get to the bottle of each one. Here are some examples of nonverbal cues in Peru:


  • To indicate deep thought, lightly tapping the head is a common gesture.
  • Unlike in the US, where the “okay” sign is widely used, in Peru, forming a circle with the thumb and index finger is considered offensive. It’s like showing the middle finger.
  • maintaining eye contact is crucial in building trust and establishing a connection with Peruvian counterparts.
  • Peruvians tend to be animated and use a lot of hand gestures while speaking, which should be seen as a sign of their enthusiasm for the topic being discussed.

Physical contact:

  • Peruvians are physically affectionate people.
  • same-gender individuals may display friendliness and affection by walking arm in arm-or touching each other’s shoulders.
  • When greeting and saying goodbye, both men and women shake hands.
  • women often kiss each other on the cheek.
  • iIt’s common for people of the same gender to walk arm in arm.
  • individuals who have a strong relationship may touch each other lightly on the arm or shoulder while speaking.

Personal Space

  • Peruvians prefer to stand or sit relatively close to one another.
  • pulling back from someone may be seen as a rude gesture indicating that you don’t want to be near them.
  • living spaces in Peru are often small.
  • it’s not uncommon for extended family members to live together.
  • Peruvians are generally comfortable being physically close to others in public spaces.

Extra tips:

  • Typically, impromptu business visits or attempts to quickly set appointments are not well-received.
  • It’s important to keep conversations friendly and allow both parties to save face. It’s best to avoid direct confrontation.

So nail down all these communication tips and be successful when doing business in Peru. Remember, it is not only about making money, relationships are essential in Peru. Keep your eyes wide open to nonverbal communication in Peru and break a leg!