Business Travel and Etiquette Tips in Singapore

Submitted by: Andrea Duke

The Republic of Singapore — 64 islands rich with stunning rainforests, modern architecture and historical treasures. This small country is an economic giant, capturing the hearts of both the East and West with its blend of modern culture and traditional values. PGi Meetings Expert Catherine Cheong shares her meetings and business etiquette knowledge to make your next business venture a success.

Q: How do you greet and say goodbye to a colleague or client?

A: It’s very easy. Just say “hello” or “bye, bye.”


Q: Where do business meetings usually take place?

A: Meetings are usually in a client’s meeting room at their office. Sometimes I meet with decision makers for lunch at a restaurant or on a web meeting tool like GlobalMeet if they’re not available face-to-face.


Q: What are some small talk topics to kick the meeting off? And what topics should be avoided?

A: How’s their family? What do they do on the weekend? Keep it lighthearted and avoid religion or politics.


Q: What are the best times to request meetings?

A: During office hours are best. Ask their availability before scheduling meetings and be flexible around their best times.


Q: How should I schedule a meeting in Japan? And what do I need to supply before the meeting?

A: Phone call or email first to confirm. Upon confirmation, send out Outlook invite. Some customers or colleagues need an agenda or some company background info. Just ask and they’ll tell you.


Q: Should I schedule a lunch or dinner meeting? What is the etiquette for sharing a meal?

A: There really is no etiquette to follow. Just schedule a business lunch (not really dinners) at a time and place that is convenient for your guest. Lunch time is usually from 12-1 PM.


Q: At the meeting, what should I provide and prepare?

A: Business cards, laptop and maybe a Power Point presentation. No snacks unless is a training sessions.


Q: How long should the meetings be?

A: Depends on the agenda set beforehand. Sometimes meetings are only 30 mins but some can be up to 2 hours. Keep it 90% business and 10% small talk.


Q: What should I wear to meetings?

A: Always be formal for meetings, suits and appropriate footwear.


Q: What should I do after the meeting?

A: Email to thank you the client for their time and also follow up on what have been discussed during the meeting.


Q: What else should visitors to your country know?

Singapore is a cosmopolitan city. Basically Singaporeans have freedom of speech except topics on religions and politics. The etiquette that would be frowned upon in other countries could be illegal here. Don’t litter or spit, and check with your local colleagues to find the rules of your own company.

Have more questions about the meetings do’s and don’ts in Singapore?

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.