india: do's and don'ts

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INDIA DO’S AND DON’TS By Jessica Verge and Kristjan Puhm

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DO practice Namaste

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Namaste is a traditional greeting in India or Nepal Put your hands together, palms touching and fingers pointed upward and make a slight bow Namaste is used to show respect to a higher power

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DON’T assume you can call someone by their first name

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Address others as ‘Mr.’, ‘Mrs.’, or ‘Miss’ or use their professional title Using an improper title can harm your relationship Make sure you pronounce the name correctly

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DO make small talk

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Get to know your potential business partners before delving into business Talk about travel, education or family but avoid sensitive issues, such as poverty

DON’T be too punctual : 

DON’T be too punctual

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Many people in India view time more casually than we do in the West Re-confirm appointments before arriving It is customary to arrive 15 minutes late

DO take a colleague : 

DO take a colleague

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Bring someone to take down notes and dates This ensures you look like the person in charge

DON’T use your left hand : 

DON’T use your left hand

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The left hand is considered unclean Avoid giving or receiving anything with your left hand and never use it to eat

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DON’T refuse hospitality

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In a meeting, don’t refuse food or drink If you must decline an invitation, use open-ended or vague answers instead of saying “no”

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