Business Practices in India

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The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. In general, Indians prefer to have long-standing personal relationships prior to doing business.
The best time for a meeting is late morning or early afternoon. Reconfirm your meeting the week before and call again that morning. Keep your schedule flexible so that it can be adjusted for last minute rescheduling of meetings.
You should arrive at meetings on time since Indians are impressed with punctuality.
First Contact
Being introduced by a third person makes the first contact much easier. If you are traveling to India from abroad, it is advisable to make appointments, at least one month in advance. A personal call will be more effective.
Meeting etiquette requires a handshake.
Do wait for a female business colleague to initiate the greeting.
How to Present Yourself
Do use titles wherever possible, such as ?Professor? or ?Doctor?. If your Indian counterpart does not have a title, use ?Mr.?, ?Mrs.?, or ?Miss?.
Don't refuse any food or drink offered to you during business meetings as this may be considered as an offence. In addition, it is useful to bear in mind that traditionally, Indians are vegetarians.
Business Relations
Doing business in India involves building relationships.
Gifts are considered as an attempt to bribe if these are large or expensive and may cause embarrassment. If invited to an Indian's home for a meal, it is not necessary to bring a gift.
Do not give white flowers as they are used at funerals.
Gifts are not opened when received.
Business Communication
Meetings in India will generally begin with friendly small talk.
Don't be aggressive in your business negotiations ? it can show disrespect.
Decision-making is a slow process. The person having the highest authority generally takes decisions.
Never appear overly legalistic during negotiations. In general, Indians do not trust the legal system and someone's word is sufficient to reach an agreement.
Dress Code
Business dress code is formal. In the hottest parts of the country the dress code is less formal, although the above-mentioned dress code for the first meeting will indicate respect.
Visiting Cards
Business cards are exchanged after the initial handshake and greeting. If you have a university degree or any honor, put it on your business card.
It is a good idea to translate your business card on one side into Hindi, more as a sign of respect and not so much for the linguistic necessity.
For Further Information
Official web site of India
BuyUSA Information Guide
The Executive Planet
Doing Business

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