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Doing Business in India by Dean Nelson

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Establishing Hierarchies

When Indians meet business contacts they try to establish exactly where their companions stand in the hierarchy of power and status. This “sizing-up” process is not unique to Indians, but it is performed with an unashamed ruthlessness that may be unfamiliar to you.

Meeting and greeting

Your partner’s religious background will determine your opening gambit: for a Muslim, say “Salaam Aleikum” and offer a handshake; but for Hindus and others, use the ritual greeting of “Namaste” (hold your hands together upward at chest height as if in prayer, while saying “Namaste”), followed by a handshake. If your business partner is a woman, this greeting is friendly without overstepping any boundaries. Don’t read too much into a weak ...

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