Indonesia: Appointment Alert! – Part 2


Making appointments

The pace of business negotiations in Indonesia is slower than you may be accustomed to in the West. Since there is little sense of urgency about time, Indonesians dislike being hurried.

Whether or not an Indonesian will be punctual often depends on his or her status in the organization’s hierarchy. For example, a subordinate must never be late for a meeting with a superior. Furthermore, it is the prerogative of the person of higher rank to make a person of lower standing wait. A high-ranking person will intentionally arrive at a meeting or similar function late once he or she knows that all of the lower-ranking participants are present.

Public or municipal meetings can begin late, often by one hour or more.

As a visitor to the country and a Westerner, you are expected to be on time for all business appointments. This is especially true if you are meeting someone who thinks that they are of a higher social standing than yourself. Sometimes, Indonesians can be as much as two hours late for meetings, so be sure to bring work, a book, or another diversion to fill the time should you be kept waiting.

When invited to a social event, Indonesians try to ascertain who will be the most important guests. They will then attempt to arrive later than ‘minor’ figures on the guest list, but earlier than more important ones. To ensure that no one arrives after the important guests, invitations sometimes add the request ‘Please arrive 15 minutes early.’

Store hours vary. Most stores will be open five or six days a week, and will open at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.

Observant Muslims fast from dawn to sundown during the month of Ramadan, and this practice may affect your schedule when doing business in this country. Also, refrain from eating or drinking in front of fasting Indonesians.

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