The theme of this year’s Singapore Airshow – “Big Show, Big Opportunities” – doesn’t overstate its case. Regional growth and pedal-to-the-medal economies make Asia Pacific the place to be. Especially from February 14 to 19. Plan now to make the most of it.

Brush Up on Your Etiquette

If you or some of your team members haven’t been to Singapore before, a quick protocol review might be in order. Here are some tips we’ve found helpful.

• Show respect. Your face is your grace. Interpersonal communication is key.

• Understand that business is more formal there than in most western countries.

• Be careful with any gift-giving. Avoid alcohol for Malaysians, pig products for Muslims, leather for Indians and knives for Chinese.

• Ratchet down a too-aggressive style to accommodate Singaporeans, who prefer a more soft-spoken and calm demeanor.

• Avoid showing the soles of your shoes (a sign of disrespect). That probably means not crossing your legs.

• If handing something to an Indian or Malay, use your right hand. Muslims consider the left hand unclean as in their culture it’s used for personal hygiene.

• Make appointments. Now if possible. And once set, be sure you’re there on time. Punctuality isn’t just a virtue. It’s a measure of respect.

• Allow time for small talk before you get down to business.

• Exchange business cards using both hands with type positioned toward the recipient. When you receive a card from someone, take time to look at it thoughtfully. The way you treat the business card is seen as how you will treat the relationship. Casually or carefully?

• Pause and give thought before answering a question. Responding too quickly shows a lack of respect.

• Avoid touching the other person. A pat on the back or hand on the arm can come across as flirtatious or even as aggressive.

• Allow at least an arm’s length of space between you and the other person.

• Never raise your voice or lose your cool. Anger leads to loss of face.

• It’s never good to point, but in Singapore pointing with your finger is considered especially rude. If you simply must gesture, use your entire hand with your palm up.

• Don’t jaywalk, litter, chew gum, spit or eat on a bus. You can be fined or even arrested.

Most of the global aerospace and defense industry leaders who exhibited at the last airshow in 2010 are returning. New exhibitors include BBA Aviation and Dallas Airmotive, which is celebrating the opening of its Singapore regional turbine center. FlightSafety International is doing some celebrating of its own, too. On February 14, it’s hosting a public grand opening of its Hong Kong Learning Center. To learn more, you can email [email protected] or call 201.528.0168.  

Aside from the lure of spectacular warbird aerobatic performances and the latest-and-greatest commercial/corporate aircraft static displays, an aviation leadership summit and Asia Pacific security conference will address key issues. Nothing surpasses the value of this kind of high-level, face-to-face discussion and problem solving.