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Sarah Palin Heads to India: What she needs to know Part 2

by Brandi Moore on March 11, 2011

Ms. Palin

Last time I gave you some ideas on wardrobe and avoiding, if possible, switching over to NBC to watch Outsourced for tips on India. Today we will get down to business….what do you need to know about putting together an effective schedule while in India and how can you be “polite” when meeting India counterparts?

Leave Lots of Time in Your Schedule

Americans run on a Puritanical version of time Ms. Palin. We love the clock and thing time = money. Indians don’t think time is money and they have little regard for time. Your meetings will run late, even with a person as important as yourself. Don’t take it personally. Before you leave, identify who is the most important in your list of contacts (Manmohan Singh, I hope, is on this list?) and build time around these meetings. Even if you keep on schedule, your Indian counterparts may not. It’s not rude to be late in India. You may hear people say – lets meet at 12:30-1pm. This is a common way to setting meeting times. It means it will happen around that time exactly when it is supposed to happen. A coming thinking about time in India.

Ignore the yes….and assume it means “I heard you”

Indians aim to please, and they focus on harmony. You will always hear yes. Assume this means “I heard you” instead of “yes, I agree.” Don’t come back to the US thinking you have made great agreements without getting to the bottom of yes. Don’t be like Barack Obama and come home with promises that may never happen. Think about this yes-ing as a constant effort to please you and to show they care, not as a checkbox that something is going to happen.

Honor the Hierarchy

Pay attention to who is in charge in the room by noticing titles. This shouldn’t be to hard in the circles you run. Did you know that the prime minister is a Dr.? We will talk more about Singh next time. Make sure you acknowledge these titles using Mr., Mrs. Dr etc. Wait for the Indian counterpart to encourage you to be on a first name basis. Avoid thinking local, think global and recognize using titles is a sign of understanding in India.

These tips should help you think about how you will spend your time and engage others when you meet them…next time I will talk about Indian food. Have you eaten at an Indian restaurant recently? If you are coming through NYC I am happy to help you pick our your favorite foods so you will be prepared for this big journey. Remember food=love in India.

Till next time……

Thank you for the picture to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/twmlabs/

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