There are several rules that need to be followed when invited to dine at hosts house in Bengali Muslims etiquette and protocol.
Is is considered impolite to reject invitation for a meal. If you must decline do so using appropriate excuse and polite language, for example: “I will try” and “I must check my schedule, because i am terribly busy at the moment”. Whether dining out or in house, only members of same gender will be present. It is customary to eat with hands, without use of utensils, so be prepared for sharing food from a common platter. If you are uncomfortable with this you can ask for utensils without fear of provoking your host.
Make sure your hands are clean and washed before the meal starts. Host will always serve his guest(s) first, after him the oldest person at the table and so on. Wait for the oldest person present to start eating before you do, it is a show of respect for their age and wisdom. Host will urge you to eat more at all times, so be prepared to eat slowly. Saying that you are full will probably have no effect. As in most Muslim countries, eating is done only with right hand, because left is considered unclean.
. Bengali Muslims etiquette is best described as informal. To fully understand what is said, you must understand both spoken and unspoken language (body language). If you come from a country where formality is standard, try to adjust to native style of conversation, as some might find your directness and formal stance insulting. Unlike Europeans and Americans, Bengals are not very protective of their personal space, so standing close to each other is normal. Only exception is when speaking to a person of opposite sex.
Meeting & Greeting
Bengali Muslims etiquette in business encounters tends to be formal, and you are expected to act accordingly. When arriving it is customary to shake hands with the person you are meeting. After your business is concluded, shake hands before leaving. It is a sign of respect. When meeting woman, foreign nationals are expected to simply nod, unless woman approaches for a handshake. Address your business partners with “Bahadur”, and their spouses “Begum”. Do not use first names until you are addressed so first by your host.
Business Card Etiquette. Cards are always exchanged after first encounter with your partner. Make sure your card holds all your academic credentials, because they are highly valued. Always use your right hand when holding out your business card in Bengali Muslims etiquette. Be respectful of cards given to you, study them closely and if possible put them in your card brief with your right hand.
When attending a meeting be prepared to discuss every detail very thoroughly. If meeting becomes lengthy due to this do not show your disapproval in any way. Most senior staff member usually runs meetings, because of his age and status in the company. Meetings usually do not have a strict procedure, rather a guide on what needs to be done. Everything else that comes up unplanned is also discussed in great length. Be prepared for this and don’t show any anxiety about prolonged time frame. Meetings usually start with small talk, which can go on indefinitely. Despite this, formal structures are observed and strict hierarchy followed, therefore always show respect for the senior staff member(s). More than in private firms this shows true with government officials. Never let your guard down, and show utter professionalism during meetings, as dictated by Bengali Muslims etiquette .
Try to avoid your emotions from surfacing, as it can be misinterpreted and cause you to lose respect of your hosts.This “emotional distance” is clearly shown in customary avoiding negative responses. Instead of “No”, you will often hear: “we will try”, “that may be difficult” which in essence means you are declined.