Behavior and Etiquette: Official and Business Meetings - Part 2

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When beginning a meeting it is customary to stand when others enter the meeting space and to greet elders or superiors first. Once business is under way, it is a serious matter and people may become emotional or heated. Pakistanis tend to be assertive and may even shout or talk over one another. However, they will never direct a conversation at or insult anyone in particular. Stay calm and maintain a controlled composure and an even tone of voice. Maintain indirect eye contact while speaking and do not use high-pressure tactics as this will jeopardize your relationship. Though the situation may seem overwhelming, remember that Pakistanis are very hospitable and accommodating and will try to help in any way they can [8]. In business meetings or casual conversation, Pakistanis strive for a win-win situation.

Any business or meetings conducted may be impeded by ineffective translation, complex tribal relations, and differing notions on reasoning styles. While English is spoken in most cities, it is crucial to have a translator in rural and suburban areas in order to fully understand and react appropriately to situations. To understand complex tribal relations and avoid making a major faux pas, it is best to take your time absorbing your surroundings and observe other people's behaviors.

Nicholas Listen to this audio about meetings from Nicholas Schmidle "Living With Political Islam"

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The greatest impediment to interaction can be the differing patterns of reasoning and thought. Americans are highly analytical and like to apply evidence in a logical manner in order to reach the best decisions. Pakistanis on the other hand generally consider how a situation relates to Islam or their family. If your reasoning does not agree with the Qur'an or impacts the family negatively, then your reasoning will not be convincing. Also, when conducting business it is best to use the same negotiator or translator throughout the whole process. The whole process will start over if the negotiator/translator changes. Relationships and deals are made with a person, not to the entity that they represent [9].

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