Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones
the harbor reflects
the Singapore skyline
Sink or Swim in
With a city population nearing 5 million on a landmass
one fifth the size San
export trade rivals the
Russian Federation and shines as the
innovation hub of Southeast Asia.
Rebuilt from the devastation of
World War II, Singapore became an
independent country in 1965. It has
attained world-class status by attracting professionals to growth
industries like tourism, logistics, academia,
medicine, telecommunications and life sciences.
Before you board
the plane, here are a few things you
should know to help improve your
business success in Singapore and across
Know before you go. Research
Southeast Asian culture by surfing
Google, reading travel books, and
watching DVDs from your local library.
Explore your travel options. While
direct flights to Singapore from Sydney
are only eight hours, it takes 13 hours
from London, 16 hours from Los
Angeles and 19 hours from New York
City. Tack on at least three more hours
for non-direct flights.
Get advice. Talk to CSPs and CPAEs
who attended the 2005 inaugural
Global Speakers Summit in Singapore,
the 2007 Summit in Dubai or the 2009
Summit in Cape Town. Those with
global experience, including accred-
ited IFFPS members
Speakers who have
and veterans, can fool-
proof your plan by
“gone global” can
sharing mistakes and
share mistakes and
helping you prepare for
help you prepare.
talk of the town.
Malay and Tamil are the four languages
of Singapore. Other vibrant nationali-
ties/languages hail from the Philippines,
India and Japan. Many residents are flu-
ent in a combination of grafted phrases
and words known as “Singlish.”
connect with APSA. The Asia
Professional Speakers Association’s
(APSA) Web site is a valuable online
tool. Founding members are business
savvy and skilled in audience etiquette
from working in China, Hong Kong,
Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Schedule playtime. Singapore is 120
miles north of the equator, so plan a
half day to adjust to the tropics. Ride
the Singapore Flyer ( 30 meters higher
than the London Eye), visit Sentosa,
jump on a Duck Boat Tour, or see rare
animals at the award-winning night zoo.
Mind your Ps and Qs. Never throw
goodies at Asian audiences to enforce
participation. Singaporeans are respectful and curious, but unforgiving if provoked or challenged. Leave slang and
profanity at home. An Australian author
was recently sentenced to a three-year
Thailand prison term for self-publishing
a book with remarks considered offensive to the Thai Royal family.
increase your book-ability: Be courteous, arrive early for meetings and avoid
grandstanding conversations as a visitor.
Avoid presenting rehashed or borrowed
materials, as you may loose face. Locals
have seen topic experts and authors in
Singapore for years. Slow your speech
by 20 percent, communicate clearly and
provide real value to your audience.
By following this advice, your speaking engagements in Singapore and
Southeast Asia are sure to be a success!
Rob Salisbury, BS, CSP, is a
native northern Californian,
whose career has taken him to
Seattle, Scottsdale, Ariz.,
Sydney and Singapore. He
served as a NSAA Sydney Chapter President
from 2001 to 2003, and has been a senior
adviser to the APSA Board of Directors since
2004. For more information, visit www.