Posted by: motso | December 28, 2009

12 Cross Cultural mistakes one should avoid while doing business in India

Indianscripts, brings a very interesting article by one of India’s leading content developer.India is a sought after destination for business, given the cheaper cost of labour and more manpower. However, it is important to remember that India is a very traditional country, with staunch thoughts and ideals. India has everything that is found all over the world. Although businessmen dress well and wear the most expensive clothes, there are certain things that are considered taboo and avoiding those is best, so that you don’t offend anyone.

However, there is nothing to worry about. Just follow these few tips and your business will be a success:

  1. Never address business partners by their first name, unless you know them personally. Here, seniority is a matter of pride.
  2. Avoid eating with the left hand or even exchanging gifts with that hand, as it is considered taboo. The left hand is considered unclean.
  3. Discussions on caste, gender equality, poverty, etc, should be avoided.
  4. Indians usually say ‘yes’ to almost everything. Learn to recognize the ‘No’.
  5. Be ready for bargaining and negotiation in meetings. Don’t be offended by debate.
  6. Indians go out of their way to make a guest comfortable. Don’t refuse hospitality.
  7. Expect questions about your age, marital status, income, and the like.
  8. In India, never enter a place of worship with your shoes on. If you see shoes near any door, be it a shop or house, take yours off too.
  9. Very important: Don’t eat beef. The cow is considered a sacred animal and some of your business partners may be high caste Hindus. Although some Indians do eat beef, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  10.  Don’t ignore hierarchy in the workplace. Buy gifts according to rank and seniority.
  11. Never ask people how or why their English is so good. Never assume that an Indian doesn’t speak good English. Several foreigners assume that because India is a third world country, the people do not get good education. Indians pride themselves on their quality of education.
  12. Make sure you don’t go hunting for snake charmers or elephants on the road. That is a thing of the past.

The bottom line is: Be sensitive to the sentiments of the people. Once that is taken care of, you don’t have much to worry about. After all, business flourishes where both parties enter into a mutual union of understanding and trust.

Written by Archana Kurup Sudheer” and published by Indianscripts, the leading translation service provider for Indian languages

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