Danish Official Visit to India

Gujarat and New Delhi

10 - 13 January 2017

Business culture in India

Here you can find some information on the business culture in India and the things to consider when meeting Indians. Keep in mind, that India is a vast country with many different cultures, languages, and religions, meaning that generalizations about Indian culture should be avoided.

Meetings

Always try to greet the most senior person in the room first and use titles whenever possible. It is customary to exchange business cards and you should receive theirs with your right hand and look at it briefly before putting it away. When handing over your business card, do so in a respectful manner, as well.

It is normal for meetings to be delayed or moved several times and to be confirmed only on the same day. Further, interruptions during meetings are not uncommon, e.g. when giving a presentation.

Dress code

Formal business attire.

Etiquette

  • Do use titles wherever possible, such as “Professor” or “Doctor”. If your Indian counterpart does not have a title, use “Mr”, “Mrs”,  “Miss”, “Sir” or “Madam”.
  • Do wait for a female business colleague to initiate the greeting. Indian men do not generally shake hands with women out of respect.
  • Do remain polite and honest at all times in order to prove that your objectives are sincere.
  • Do not be impatient and aggressive in your business negotiations – it can indicate disrespect.
  • Do not bring large or expensive gifts as this may cause embarrassment. If you do bring a gift make sure you present the gift with both hands.
  • Do not refuse any food or drink offered to you during business meetings as this may cause offence. In addition, it is useful to bear in mind that many Indians are vegetarians and many do not drink alcohol.
  • When exchanging business cards use right hand or both hands to give and receive, since the left hand is regarded unclean.