Entertaining for business success
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.’
Do not send invitations printed on white, black or blue paper to Indonesian Chinese, as these colors are associated with sadness. Red or pink, however, can be acceptable colors for invitations.
Generally, spouses may be invited to dinner but not to lunch. Be aware, however, that business will not be discussed in the presence of spouses.
Make the effort to invite several Indonesians of the same ethnic group. Also, be sensitive to the fact that many of the wives in attendance may not speak English well.
Hold your party early, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. In Indonesia, people usually rise and go to bed early. The guests will probably be gone by 9:30 p.m.
Indonesians find buffets more comfortable than sit-down dinners with assigned places. Nevertheless, ensure that the food served in the buffet is sophisticated.
Remember that observant Muslims do not drink alcohol or consume pork products.
Show tremendous respect toward your guest of honor. He or she is the last to arrive and the first to go through the buffet line. Also, accompany your special guest to the buffet table, explaining what each dish is. Guests will begin to excuse themselves around 9:00 p.m., and you should escort the honoree to his or her car.
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