India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with a per capita GDP growth of 6.3 percent in 2015. This impressive economic growth has left Western economies in the dust and has drawn a massive amount of investment from state, private, and outside investment. All this has made India a hotbed for economic and business investment from abroad. This means that many people who may have never considered visiting India will be now doing it for business purposes. If you are coming in fresh for business, we are here to share 5 important facets to having an outstanding Conference in India.
Culture and Business
Like almost any country, India comes with its own unique set of cultural norms and business practices, which may initially feel alien to newcomers. To better understand the country, consider reading up on the expectations of visitors or common practices that you may not be aware.
For example, while traditional dress may be something you have often seen associated with Indian culture, most people do not wear this on a day-to-day basis. Instead, business casual clothing is common in the work environment and much more Western-influenced clothing. In business districts, men and women will most often wear suits, pantsuits and business dresses.
Hosting or attending a business conference in India
If you are planning a conference in Indian or attending one, you will want to adhere to a few pieces of advice to make sure introductions and meetings go as smoothly as possible. Like with any culture, flouting or being ignorant of the norms is no excuse to locals and you will leave prospective business associates with a bad taste in their mouths
On a first meeting
Indian culture places a great deal of importance on personal relationships, and many business relationships start are built upon the foundation of a personal relationship. Because of this, it is often recommended that you be introduced by a mutual acquaintance.
Handshakes are common and one practice that was popularized by British colonial influence. In some situations, men and women should not shake hands due to religious customs. It is best to look around the room first to gauge if this will be permitted or not.
Meeting in a group
When meeting with a group of people, it is considered polite to greet each person individually. India does have the influence of a hierarchal social structure, because of this the oldest or most senior person should be greeted first, followed by the next most senior, and so on.
When in a business meeting
Unlike Western culture, it is considered good manners to be slightly late to an event or meeting. In smaller communities, the business day may start later, but this is often not the case in large cities. To be sure, check with local contacts or schedule meetings for later in the morning to be sure.
Like in Western culture, be aware of your body posture when talking to business associates in India, since much significance is attached to it. “Aggressive” postures such as folded arms or hands on hips. Also, avoid putting your feet up on furniture or pointing them at people. Like the left hand, feet are considered unclean.
Titles are important in India and you should not use someone’s given name unless given explicit permission. Use formal titles (Mr., Dr., etc.) and surnames instead.
If you’re hosting a conference in an unfamiliar location, it’s best to work with a hotel or locale that is comfortable with conferences and can offer guidance and local help and suggestions. Places like the Courtyard Gurugram Downtown can provide exceptional service and location to help your event run more smoothly.