Let’s say you’re an English-speaking senior executive at an investment bank with its HQ in the US and you’re lucky enough to get a meeting with India prime minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, in which you are pitching him a development deal. You’ll know instantly whether he’s suspicious of you or not: If he’s speaking Hindi and using a translator, he probably doesn’t like you. Modi speaks both English and Hindi.
Modi speaking Hindi means that your “30-minute meeting” is really only a 15-minute meeting, because of the translator time.
Do not fret! You can still rescue the meeting, we were told by a banker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, who may or may not have been in this exact position. We’re not allowed to identify the banker or the bank that employs him due to Davos’ rules for journalists and their sources. Suffice to say, he was senior enough to be able to get meetings with the top layers of world governments.
The one thing you need to know about Modi before you get your 30 minutes with him is that he apparently loves technology and gadgets. For instance, he likes India’s relatively new UIDAI / Aadhar scheme, which gives everyone a unique ID number based on their fingerprint or iris and allows even the most destitute Indians to establish their identities without further documentation. It’s going to open the door for consumer banking services for India’s vast unbanked masses, basically. “Modi wants everyone to have a bank account,” we heard.
With that in mind, you might be well advised to put your deal pitch on an iPad, and let Modi click through it himself. On that iPad, list — for instance — what you believe India’s 10 biggest problems are, and your 100-day plan for fixing them.
Modi likes plans and targets, we were told. And he likes iPads.
Assuming your iPad pitch is based on reality, and actually does something to help India, you can then expect Modi to extend your meeting to about an hour — in English.
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