It is worth paying attention to the following points at business meetings in India:
Close familiarity with the Indian business ethic can help you when doing business in India.
It is advisable to pay attention to the following tips:
- A short and light, not firm, handshake is the customary start to a business meeting.
It is advisable to start the meeting with 'small talk' and only after that to pass to business matters.
During the meeting it is customary to address your Indian colleagues with the title that signifies their status:
"Professor X" or "Mr. X" or Miss X" with the name that follows the title being the surname and not a first name.
- Business cards should be exchanged at the beginning of a business meeting.
Take care before the meeting to have an adequate supply of business card that will be sufficient for all those present at the meeting.
- Business behavior in India is very similar to that of most western countries.
Most Indians of the managerial and technical levels have a good command of both spoken and written English.
- Senior executives in India wear suits. At the same time, because of the climatic conditions, they sometimes dress less formally.
Business women are recommended to dress conservatively.
- Although it is customary to shake a male colleague lightly by the hand at the start of the meeting, shaking hands with women is a very sensitive point in Indian culture.
The important rule is that shaking a woman by the hand is at the woman's initiative.
Only when an Indian woman offers her hand, is it acceptable to shake it.
In the absence of a handshake, the custom all over India is the greeting of peace known as "Namaste".
When making this greeting, hold the palms of both hands together under the chin, smile, bow slightly and say "Namaste".
- In Indian culture, it is considered improper for a man and woman to embrace and kiss in public.
- When presenting gifts, take care that the gift-wrapping is neither black nor white as these are believed to bring bad luck.
On the other hand, the colors that are thought to bring good luck are red, green and yellow.
It is not customary in India to open a gift in the presence of its donor.
If you receive a gift from your Indian colleague, open it only after your colleague has left the room.
- Acceptable gifts are flowers, chocolate, perfume and small electronic goods.
Sensitivity should be shown to ethnic background in India.
Thus, for example, you should refrain from giving gifts that have a picture of a dog (dogs are considered unclean animals).
It is also important to know that many Indians do not drink alcohol or eat beef.
- During meetings, try not to stand with your hands on your hips.
This is considered as an aggressive posture in India.
- The best time of the year for a visit to India is between the months of October and March.
Do not arrange business meetings for national holidays, It is important to remember that apart from the national holidays there are many festivals that are specific to certain regions of India As holidays are not fixed according to the Gregorian calendar, it is important to make sure of the dates of holidays with the Embassy of India in your country of origin before fixing an appointment.
- Indians are not particularly punctual and if you have fixed a time for a meeting, this may be regarded with some "flexibility" by your Indian counterpart.
Note: The information in this site is for general guidance only. Users of this site are advised to take professional advice before taking practical tax decisions.
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