India Breakfast Meeting


wb01542_.gif (729 bytes)   The following answers were graciously supplied by Meenakshi Chandra, H.R., Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd., Calcutta.

Question - Can you describe what a morning business meeting would be like in India?

Answer - A Morning Business Meeting in India, is actually not very different from regular meetings held during the day. There are no hard and fast rules binding this meet, but yes there are a few ettiquetes to be followed. The Participants of the meeting have to be formally dressed for the occasion, unless specifically mentioned to them before hand, while deciding on the agenda of the meet. They are requested to be on time at the designated venue, and once all are assembled, each of the participants would be required to get acquainted with the others present.

Once the initial formalities are over, all participants proceed towards breakfast. As the style for serving is buffet style, all mingle around and the preliminary discussions on the agenda of the meet usually start. This time usually is spent in getting acquainted, comfortable with all present.

Once the entire breakfast is over, the real sit down discussions can start.

Question - Do they serve breakfast items and if so, what type of food?

Answer - Yes they do. The breakfast menu can comprise of various items -

1. Sandwiches - can be both vegetarian and non vegetarian. A variety of sandwiches is usually served. Ranging from club sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, vegetable sandwiches, chicken sandwiches.

If the nationalities and the eating preferences of the guests is known then ham/beef sandwiches can be served. This is an important issue to be kept in mind because in India, for the Hindu community eating of beef is forbidden, as the Hindus consider the cow to be a sacred animal. Thus, this item is not served as a part of the menu, if the guests are all Hindu by religion. To serve beef to a Hindu is taken as an offense. However, exceptions are always there.

Similarly, ham is a forbidden dish to serve to the Muslim community. So this is also avoided if there are any Muslim guests present at the meeting, because it offends their religious sentiments.

2. A South India Delicacy is also common as a breakfast item, i.e. Idli. Idlis are small cakes made of 'rice' and 'Dal'.This is served with" Coconut Chutney" and "Sambhar" i.e. a mixture of seasonal vegetables cooked in spices. It is a gravy dish.

3 Scrambled eggs.

4. Dessert - freshly cut fruits in syrup is appreciated.

5. Seasonal Fresh fruit juice and

6. Tea/Coffee

Question - How would the food be served?

Answer - The food would always be served in Buffet style. This enables intermingling of all the guests present.

Question - Would it be acceptable to begin at 9:00 am?

Answer - It is definitely accepted to begin the meeting at 9:00 AM sharp. At times meetings do start before that also.

Question - Is punctuality important in India?

Answer - It is very important.

Question - What is the preferred way of seating for a meeting?

Answer - If the participants are 20 in number, then the seating arrangements are organised in the in the Board room style. If the number of participants is more than 20 then the seating arrangement is done in a U Shaped table, or in a hollow shaped rectangular table. or it can also be organised in a theatre style

Question - What would be an acceptable length of time for a meeting?

Answer - Meetings can go on for the whole day from 9:00A.M. to 6P.M.- of course Breaking off for Tea/Coffee(twice)and lunch. It depends on the requirement.

Question - Is technology accepted, i.e., teleconferences or videoconferences?

Answer - Yes - This is the most economic and accepted mode of conference.


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