like to travel to India on my business trip. Tell me
about Business Practices in general in India !
business trips between December and March. Before
leaving, check the schedule of religious holidays
during the period that you plan to be in India. There
are hundreds of holidays in various regions, and
business is not conducted during that time. Avoid
traveling in India during the Dussehra-Diwali period
usually in October or November. Dates vary from year
to year, so consult the tourist office, embassy, or
consulate. Another time to avoid is the monsoon season
Ė June, July, and August Ė because transportation
becomes difficult in some part of the country.
Try to arrange an appointment with the commercial
attachť of your country.
Be sure to telephone as soon as you arrive in a city
to confirm all your appointments as appointments can
soon be forgotten if not reminded.
Try to have a schedule flexible enough to allow for
extra days in India, because people sometimes donít
appear for a meeting. Note that executives prefer
late-morning or early-afternoon appointments, so try
schedule meetings between 11:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.
(Lunch is usually taken from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M.) Donít
be surprised if Indian businesspeople are somewhat
vague in commitment, since they donít like to be
pressed for exact times.
Be aware that Indians are impressed by punctuality but
will often not be on time themselves. Try to keep your
schedule loose to accommodate delays.
Bring business cards. Itís acceptable to have them
printed in English.
In nearly every city, expect to find private fax and
computer services available. They may be less
expensive than those in your hotel, but the latter
often provides better service. Keep in mind that some
fax facilities charge even for an unsuccessful
transmission. Be sure to ask the policy before sending
Recognize that most company executives are very
westernized. They have often studied in England, dress
in Western style, and follow Western behavior.
Expect to be offered sweet, milky tea, no matter what
time of day your meeting occurs. If you donít want to
drink very slowly or ask for something else, such as a
soft drink. Never say ďNoĒ to the offer of a drink. If
food, such as sweets, is pressed on you and you donít
care for it, just leave it.
Be prepared to answer many personal questions. When
you meet someone for business the first time, youíll
be asked about yourself, your family, whether you like
sports, and what your hobbies are. You are expected to
ask your Indian hosts the same questions. Show special
interest in your hostís children, and bring pictures
of your own family. Donít begin a business discussion
without these preliminaries.
Expect to be overwhelmed by hospitality. Westerners
sometimes have a problem in avoiding the many
invitation, but donít make an explicit commitment
unless you genuinely want to accept. If someone says,
ďCome to my house and meet my children,Ē respond, ďI
certainly will,Ē but donít commit yourself to a time
and date. Then you need not go, because thereís no
obligation unless you have named a specific time.
Never merely say ďNo.Ē
Realize that business will be conducted at a very slow
pace, and dealings will not be concluded quickly. After
they present and discuss a proposal, Indians donít
conclude an agreement at once. Expect additional
discussion about the contract as a whole or individual
clauses in it.
Be aware that there are both male and female
secretaries. Men usually work in government offices
and women in private business.
Always take notes during meetings in order to have a
good reference at a later time for any verbal
Donít be surprised if people wander in and out of your
meetings. For example, clerks may appear with files or
letters that need attention. Keep calm and donít show
any resentment about the interruptions.
Recall that Indians do not like to say ďNo,Ē and they
may avoid a negative response by stalling. Be patient,
but have a realistic idea of how long youíre willing
to wait. If there are constant delays, you may have to
accept that the Indian businesspeople arenít
interested in your project.
If you are in a position where ďNoĒ would be your
response, avoid using that direct negative. Saying
ďIíll tryĒ is as good as a refusal.
Keep in mind that all decisions are made at the top.
While middle managers do have input and are usually
able to meet with you more readily, they will not be
making the final decision.
A Western man doing business with an Indian woman
should wait for her to offer her hand in greeting. If
she greets with the Namaste greeting, he should do the
Note that foreign woman who represent large companies,
or who have senior titles, will have the most
If your are giving a speech and are offered a flower
garland (a sign of respect and affection), accept it,
but remove it from your neck at once to show humility.
Business Entertaining: If you plan to entertain at a
meal, note that business lunches are more popular than
Expect business to be done informally Ė e.g., during a
tennis game, or during lunch or dinner. Accept any
invitation, if at all possible. You will build trust
by attending informal gatherings.
If you are hosting a business meal, remember that
Hindus donít eat beef, and Muslims donít eat beef, and
Muslims donít eat pork. Also check to see if your
guests are vegetarian.
Women should not feel awkward about entertaining
Indian businessmen. They will usually offer to pay for
the dinner but will not prevent the woman from picking
up the check.