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Business etiquette

Business visitors should check the local holiday schedule before traveling to Indonesia. It might be seen as inappropriate to arrange business meetings before and after Idul Fitri holiday.

Indonesians like to avoid confrontation and disharmony. It is better not to lose one's temper or show negative emotions. Try not to openly disagree with people as this can be interpreted as a lack of respect and will probably affect the relationship. Avoid using left hand when receiving and handing gifts or while eating. The left hand in Indonesian culture is used for toilet duties.

Business cards are important and should be given out in a formal manner at the beginning of a meeting.

The normal business attire is a business suit or white shirt, tie and slacks for men, and a business suit or dress for women. The traditional batik shirt is also commonly worn in the office and is now considered proper business attire.

Indonesians do not conduct business talks or make decisions in the same direct fashion as Westerners. Therefore, foreigners should be prepared to spend a good deal of time with clients before settling the business transaction. Patience is extremely important and the word "no" is rarely used. Exchanging small gifts is common practice for business or social visits.

It is worth mentioning that Indonesians do business with "friends", people whom they know. Therefore, developing a rapport is crucial. Dealing with someone face-to-face is the only way to do effective business. Indonesians prefer to do business over coffee, food or on a golf course.

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