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!

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8 comments

  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!

    Jim

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  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!

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  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!

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    • 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

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  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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