Indian business etiquette: Don’ts

  1. Don’t be late for meetings – although some people tell that Indians are routinely about 30 minutes late for everything.
  2. Don’t over-schedule yourself. It takes up to two hours to reach some offices because traffic is very heavy and unpredictable.
  3. Don’t show amusement at the different Indian accents and the choice of words. This does not take away from the fact that many Indians speak and write better English than many native English speakers.
  4. Don’t assume everyone eats meat and drinks alcohol. Many Indians are “veg” (eat only vegetarian foods) and don’t drink alcohol.
  5. Don’t be aggressive in your business negotiations – it shows disrespect.
  6. Don’t take large or expensive gifts as this may cause embarrassment. If you do take a gift make sure you present the gift with both hands.
  7. Don’t refuse any food or drink offered to you during business meetings as this may cause offence.
  8. Don’t discuss religion, especially with Muslims who form 11% of India’s population.
  9. Don’t show amusements if you witness Indians shaking their head in the course of conversation.
  10. Don’t make flashy displays of wealth or property – India is a developing country and foreigners stand out enough without flaunting themselves and their property.
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