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Indian Business Practices: Points to cover include, 1. Gift Giving (What Types of gifts to give) 2.

Working Hours (What are their daily working hours)

3. Small Talk Topics, Entertainment & Dining Etiquette (When meeting informally)
4. Language (What languages do they speak)

5. Meeting and Greeting (How to do it, what is the correct way) 6. Relationships and Negotiations (Managing relationships with Indians and how to negotiate with them)
7. Attire (What they wear, what does their dressing represent) These are bullet points which I have put for you. There are afew points but you may select which you feel is the most important. I rather include more points than less. Points number 3, number 5 and number 6 are the most important and most heavy in content so I suggest you divide it equally amongst you guys. This document contains the bulk of the content but if youre feeling lazy and just wanna skim through, you can just look at the words which I have heighted or marked out.

1. Gift Giving
Indians believe that giving gifts eases the transition into the next life. Gifts of cash are given to friends and members of the extended family to celebrate life events such as birth, death and marriage. It is not the value of the gift, but the sincerity with which it is given, that is important to the recipient. If invited to an Indian's home for a meal, it is not necessary to bring a gift, although one will not be turned down. Do not give frangipani or white flowers as they are used at funerals. Yellow, green and red are lucky colours, so try to use them to wrap gifts. Hindus should not be given gifts made of leather. Muslims should not be given gifts made of pigskin or alcoholic products. Gifts are not opened when received.

2. Working Hours
Throughout the year, apart from Festivals, businesses in India are open at the following hours: Government Offices: Mondays to Fridays: 09.30 - 17:30. Offices: Mondays to Fridays:09.30 - 17:30 (on Saturdays until 14:00). Banks: Mondays to Fridays 10:00 - 15:00 (on Saturdays until 13:00). Stores: Mondays to Saturdays 09:00 - 19:00. Business lunch break from 1pm to 2pm

3. Small Talk Topics, Entertainment, Dining Ettiquete


Small Talk Topics It is customary to engage in small talk before getting down to business and topics can range from anything from cricket to politics. Discussing business at dinner is a rare occasion. Usually, dinners are hosted at someones home or restaurant and meant for socialization and getting to know others. Most Indians follow cricket like westerners follow soccer in Europe and American follow football and baseball.

Golf is played frequently in India and the country has some beautiful golf courses.
This can be attributed back to the British Occupational times. Business is not usually conducted on the golf course but is a way to get to know the persons with whom you are doing business better. Golf is a luxury and is generally not done year round during monsoon and the summer season when the temperatures are in 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dining Etiquette Indians entertain in their homes, restaurants, private clubs, or other public venues, depending upon the occasion and circumstances. Although Indians are not always punctual themselves, they expect foreigners to arrive close to the appointed time. Take off your shoes before entering the house. Dress modestly and conservatively.

Politely turn down the first offer of tea, coffee, or snacks. You will be asked again and again. Saying no to the first invitation is part of the protocol.
There are diverse dietary restrictions in India, and these may affect the foods that are served: Hindus do not eat beef and many are vegetarians. Muslims do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Sikhs do not eat beef. Lamb, chicken, and fish are the most commonly served main courses for nonvegetarian meals as they avoid the meat restrictions of the religious groups.

Table manners are somewhat formal, but this formality is tempered by the religious beliefs of the various groups. Much Indian food is eaten with the fingers. Wait to be told where to sit. If utensils are used, they are generally a tablespoon and a fork.

Guests are often served in a particular order: the guest of honour is served first, followed by the men, and the children are served last. Women typically serve the men and eat later.
You may be asked to wash your hands before and after sitting down to a meal.

Always use your right hand to eat, whether you are using utensils or your fingers.
In some situations food may be put on your plate for you, while in other situations you may be allowed to serve yourself from a communal bowl. Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that you are satisfied. Finishing all your food means that you are still hungry.

4. Language
Different states in India each have different official languages. Central government only recognises Hindi as the official language of India. However, when doing business in India,

English is the language of international commerce.

5. Meeting and Greeting


When doing business in India, meeting etiquette requires a handshake. However, Indians themselves use the namaste. This is where the palms are brought together at

chest level with a slight bow of the head. Using the namaste is a sign of your understanding of Indian etiquette. When addressing an Indian whom you know personally, always use the appropriate formal title, whether Professor, Doctor, Mr, Mrs or if you do not know their names then Sir or Madam will suffice. When doing business in India, business cards should be exchanged at the first meeting. It is a good idea to have it translated on one side into Hindi, more as a sign of respect as opposed to linguistic necessity. Be sure to receive and give with your right hand. Make sure the card is put away respectfully and not simply pushed into a trouser pocket.

6. Relationships and Negotiations


Doing Business - Building Relationships Indians prefer to do business with those they know. Relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. In general, Indians prefer to have long-standing personal relationships prior to doing business. It may be a good idea to go through a third party introduction. This gives you immediate credibility.

Doing Business - Meetings Meetings should be arranged well in advance. Avoid meetings near or on national holidays such as Independence Day, Diwali or either of the two Eids. Avoid the heat by scheduling between October and March. Punctuality is expected, although being 10 minutes late will not have disastrous consequences. Flexibility is paramount. Family responsibilities take precedence over business so last minute cancellations are possible when doing business.

When entering a meeting room you must always approach and greet the most senior figure first. Meetings should always commence with some conversation. This is part of the 'getting to know you' process.
Favourable topics of conversation are the latest business news, the fortunes of the Bombay Stock Exchange or cricket. Avoid talking about personal matters and, if new to India, do not comment on matters such as the poverty or beggars.

Doing Business - Negotiations If your business dealings in India involve negotiations, always bear in mind that they can be slow. If trust has not yet been established then concentrate efforts on building

a rapport. Decisions are always made at the highest level. If the owner or Director of the company is not present, the chances are these are early stage negotiations. Indians do not base their business decisions solely on statistics, empirical data and exciting PowerPoint presentations. They use intuition, feeling and faith to guide them.

Always exercise patience, show good character and never exhibit frustration or anger. When negotiating avoid high pressure tactics. Do not be confrontational or forceful.
Criticisms and disagreements should be expressed only with the most diplomatic language. Indian society has an aversion to saying "no" as it is considered rude due to the possibility of causing disappointment or offense. Listen carefully to Indians' responses to your questions. If terms such as "We'll see", "I will try" or "possibly" are employed then the chances are that they are saying 'no'. Once terms have been agreed you will be expected to honour them. When negotiations end successfully continue the relationship building process with a celebration dinner.

7. Attire
Business attire in India has traditionally been classified as formal business dress for Westerners consistent of suits and shirts and ties. Fancy suits and loud colors on shirts and ties are generally not recommended and may offend certain people. Conservative suits and ties should be worn unless you know otherwise. Many information technology companies have adopted the business casual format of Western Countries which usually consistent of pants and a collared shirt. For women, pants suits are generally recommended over skirts but can be worn but as a general rule, the length should be past the knees. Indian attire or costumes are not required typically unless there is a celebration whereby foreigners may be asked to participate in following the traditions of the familys culture. Dress Etiquette Business attire is conservative. Men should wear dark coloured conservative business suits. Women should dress conservatively in suits or dresses. The weather often determines clothing. In the hotter parts of the country, dress is less formal, although dressing as suggested above for the first meeting will indicate respect.