The chaos of Indian meetings

After three days of sitting through a few meetings in India, I couldn’t help but observe a few uncommon commonalities that characterize the business environment here – judge for yourself:

  • Meetings are in Hinglish – it is a mix of Hindi and English – completely interchangeable and my brain is spinning as I think I understand but then realize half of it is passing through me…
  • If the boss is in the room, noone else speaks or answers your questions. Given we are always in meetings with other 15 people (the size seems to grow everyday) – there are a lot of people that never say anything. One on one meetings are very hard to get. I asked the guy next to me a question but he waved me off with the gesture “we will get to it later”.
  • Chaos! Everyone speaks over everyone, no structure in questioning or order. Listening just doesn’t work very well. It is like 5 conversations happening at the same time. You just scribble whatever you caught someone say here and there and go on.
  • If the question is not convenient, noone answers it…. basically go by rule “only answer what you want to answer”.
  • Constant disruptions of people serving water, tea, cookies, chicken, water, pepsi, cookies, chicken, salad, tea – all very nice and hospitable but since the water is tap, we can’t touch it so a bit awkward everytime.
  • Phones ringing constantly, people picking it up during the meeting and just talking very very loudly – not stepping out or whispering but literally taking a call in the middle of the meeting!
  • Everything is always perfect, there are no challenges, problems, improvements – data will come later – it is all rosy all the time 🙂
  • Meeting rooms very basic, no computers, no decks.

So, I am adjusting but honestly, finding it very difficult as you never get what you wanted b/c there is no agenda, control over the meeting and just plain chaos.

Ah – and did I mention we are in the newspapers again? This is going to be daily now as the media is following us everywhere, there are usually more cameras than people!



  1. Misha, thanks for sharing. It sounds very similar to my journey there in 2006: same issues, everyone agreeable, and only the leader(s) speaking. It really hasn’t changed much then. Good luck!



  2. Misha, Really enjoying your posts about your India adventure. Hope the meetings settle down for you, but sounds like quite the experience. I know if anyone can work their way through it all, it will be you. Have fun!


  3. I’ll echo the same sentiment above! But, I’m also cataloging all these topics for my Turkish adventures with CSC. Your descriptions are so vivid!


    • Karen, thanks for stopping by – very excited to read your blog when you are heading out. We will actually meet the IBMCSC team in Varanasi this weekend so projects coming all together :0


  4. Misha, Reminds me of work transition experience back in 2005-2007. I hope you have already decoded the “head shake” 🙂 Enjoy !


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