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BUSINESS CULTURE

AND ETIQUETTE
IN INDIA
1. Greetings
2. Names and Titles
3. Business Meetings
4. Conversation Topics
5. Negotiation
6. Business Entertaining
7. Gift giving
8. Practical Advice
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE IN INDIA
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
GREETINGS
The traditional greeting consists of placing your palms
together with the thumbs pointing up under the chin,
a slight lowering of the head and uttering Namaste
(pronounced na-mas-tai), meaning I am at your disposal.
With foreign negotiators the most usual greeting is a gentle
handshake when you introduce yourself and leave.
Only westernised Indians shake hands with the opposite sex.
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
Indians use the rst letter of their fathers name before their rst
name. For example, in the name R. Chibalratti, R means that
the fathers name begins with this letter (for example, Rajam or
Rama) and Chibalratti is the persons rst name.
The fathers full name and the rst name must be written in
legal documents. Nevertheless, for everyday use, long names
are shortened. Thus, Mr R. Chibalratti can be called Mr
Chibal or Mr Ratti.
First names are only used when there is a personal relationship.
NAMES AND TITLES
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
The atmosphere of the meetings is formal. You should aim to
be reserved and controlled. Emotional arguments or attitudes
are frowned upon. Nonetheless, once the relationship has
reached a certain level of trust the sentimental factor is
indeed important for doing business.
Harmony among the parties is essential for successful
negotiation. The use of aggressive tactics, confrontation or
pressurising to reach a decision is counterproductive.
The best time to arrange appointments with Indian managers
is before or after lunch (at 11:00 or 16:00).
BUSINESS MEETINGS
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
At the beginning of the meeting they usually ofer tea or
refreshments. The custom is to reject the rst time and
accept the second or third time. Rejecting the drink can be
counterproductive. You should drink slowly if you do not want
another drink.
In conversation you should avoid topics about poverty, religion or
relations with neighbouring Pakistan. Talking about the climate is
not a good choice either because it is usually very hot and humid.
Favourite topics are: art, life in other countries and the cinema
(India is the worlds largest producer of lms).
CONVERSATION TOPICS
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
Negotiations must be held at the highest level. The business culture
is very hierarchical. Middle managers do not take decisions,
although they steer proposals and give advice about them.
The negotiation process is slow. You should give information
gradually. There will be several meetings before the most important
aspects are negotiated.
Indian negotiators never give a straight no because they consider
it impolite to do so. Instead they evade the issue, use the expression
well try or try to prolong the negotiations.
NEGOTIATION
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
Indians usually arrive late for social events and dinners.
Before dinner they devote a long time to apritifs and drinks
(especially whisky).
The after-dinner session does not exist. When they have
nished eating they get up from the table. The local saying
Indian eaten, Indian gone expresses this very well.
Menus are usually vegetarian. Hindus do not eat beef because
the cow is sacred.
BUSINESS ENTERTAINING
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
At the rst meeting you do not need to give gifts. Later on
or when the deal is concluded, a bottle of whisky, a bright
coloured tie or a box of spices (safron is much appreciated)
can be good choices.
You should also be careful when giving alcoholic drinks since
in some states there are restrictions for religious reasons or
they are banned for example at election time.
Presents must not be wrapped in white or black paper since
these colours are associated with death. They must not be
opened in the presence of the person who gives them.
GIFT GIVING
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides
To obtain the Indian Business Culture Guide with more than
100 tips about etiquette and protocol, verbal and non-verbal
communication, negotiation strategies, etc., clic on:
Indian Business Culture and Etiquette Guide
To obtain Business Culture Guides in other countries clic on:
Business Culture and Etiquette Guides in 70 countries
PRACTICAL ADVICE
Business Culture & Etiquette Guides

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