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Business Etiquettes in Nepal


It is definitely useful to you and your business if you can make friends with influential businessman, politicians, and bureaucrats. Not much gets done without the help of contacts with influential people. Generous wining and dining tactics are one of the ways to get such people to listen to you.

There are many middlemen who might offer their services to get government work done in less than half the normal time. Make sure to run a check on them through your network before making any decisions.

Saturday is the official holiday and Sunday is a half-working day. Business hours are from 9 am to 5pm and Nepali people are quite laid back and prefer not to work on weekends.

It is always good to show up on time for a meeting, but don’t be surprised if your partner or client is late by 15 minutes or more.

Meeting & Greeting

It is polite to greet people by saying “namaste”. You have to press your palms together in front of your chest and either nod your head or bow down slightly. Always greet the elderly with a namaste. If you are meeting prospective business partners, you can shake hands and use English greetings.

Supervisors may be addressed as ’sir’ or ’madam’. "Ji" can be added to the end of a name to show respect: "Nancy-ji". This can be used for elders and professors or government officials. In the workplace, once relationships have been built the family references may also be used in place of names: "didi" for older sister, "bahini", younger sister, "dai" , older brother and "bai", younger brother.

If a name is not known then these names can be used respectfully to ask a question. Most Nepalese will expect you to directly ask "What is your name?" and will give you a name that they prefer to be called. This should be followed.

Business Meetings & Negotiation

Personal relationships are very important and therefore much time is spent on establishing these over endless cups of ’chai’ (tea). Questions about family, work, life experiences are good ways to establish these relationships.

It's best to allow time for small talk before getting down to business discussions.

Most decisions are made by management without much input from staff. The top down approach is quite prevalent though there are exceptions to the rule.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited for a meal at a restaurant, the host is expected to pay for it. It would not be considered polite if you offer to pay.

The food is considered to be ‘impure’ or ‘tampered with’ if you use the same cutlery to eat and to serve yourself.

Newari restaurants are the most popular choice for businessmen to take their clients to. It is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the capital and you might have to sit on the floor while you eat. If you do not have a strong stomach, avoid having red meat and salads.

Business Dressing

When meeting a client or a business partner, smart casual dress would be appropriate. Nepali people are not very strict about dress codes as long as the attire appears to be smart. However, it is advised that women should avoid wearing short skirts and revealing clothing.

All-white attire is worn only by someone in mourning, and hence should be avoided. Jeans should not be worn in business meetings.





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