- Don’t assume things are the same, no matter how “Americanized” your business partners may be.The general rule that nobody follows: they assume that business is done the same way in their home country. It’s the natural reflex. It gets accentuated in a country like India. If you go to China, you’re reminded more obviously that you’re in a foreign country. In India, you may be lulled into complacency. The differences are still there.
- Even though your Indian counterparts may speak English, there are still language barriers.Most people speak English. That’s an advantage you have – but that doesn’t mean everything translates. People say, ‘no problem’ – but there can be a number of problems.
- Before booking a trip to India, look at all the religious holiday calendars.There are more religious holidays in India. Don’t plan a trip right in the middle of them. You could encounter four days of holidays.
- Expect to start and end your day late. Business in the morning starts late – people have more breakfast meetings. Generally around 10, 10:30. Dinner time in India also tends to be late. At 6 p.m., people are still having evening tea.”
- Don’t go in for a handshake with a womanGenerally you would not shake hands with a woman. But no one is getting terribly upset if you do it. That’s another thing you need to know.
- Prepare for things to change at the last minute.
Meetings often get scheduled at the last minute, and often change at the last minute. One of the major management consulting firms I represented wanted to schedule a dinner at 6 p.m. in Delhi. I said, ‘Nobody will come to your dinner.’ People showed up at 9 and 10 p.m. This guy didn’t listen to me. I told him it’s your fault scheduling thinking you have the self-importance to schedule an early dinner.
Susan Forrester is a full-time student in the Masters in International Management program. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Portland State University. After living in Seoul, South Korea for two years she was interested in finding a career that linked Oregon and Asia together through trade. Susan enjoys the diverse background of the MIM student body that allows her to frequently practice her beginner level Chinese.