In order to create a solid business relationship, it is important to understand what the Singaporean people value and what their expectations are when meeting and greeting potential business partners. Business etiquette follows a strict protocol during meetings, negotiations, and even when exchanging business cards. Business cards are important when building a relationship with any Singaporean company. Ethnicity and it’s cultural values are also critical to utilize when determining how to determine a business’s proper name or title as well as determining the proper gift giving practices that are to be expected ("kwintessential"). Once these expectations are known and practiced well, the communication between companies will be effortless and trouble-free. Singapore is more formal and follows a more strict protocol during daily activities than Americans. Following a strict chain of command and seeing the “group” as being more important than the “individual” are a general practice. Body language and facial expressions to communicate more than words are used as well. It is understood that, “Personal relationships are the cornerstone of all business relationships.” ("kwintessential" ) “Relationships take time to develop.”(kwintessential) This is a group-oriented culture upholding a necessity to be identified as part of a group in order to be accepted. Everyone is expected to follow the unwritten rules of that society. Respect is also acknowledged by rank which is always given with respect to the elder age. Negotiations are expected to be specific and non-confrontational. The negotiations follow a strict hierarchy in which decisions are consensus driven. Patience is expected and a pause before a response is considered polite showing that the response was thought about before being proposed and discussed ("kwintessential"). They do not want to lose face with one another and will do anything possible to speak without injuring their own business image. As a result, the negotiation normally processes at a slow pace and any impatience is considered rude. There are three major ethnicities in Singapore: Chinese, Malay, and Indians. Knowing the three different approaches used to communicate effectively in regards to what title they prefer to have and what type of etiquette is expected when giving or receiving gifts varies from culture to culture. The Chinese, Malay, and Indians have very unique practices and traditions they use when dealing with their own social norms. Chinese Singaporeans traditionally have 3 names. Their surname or family name is followed by two personal names. Address the person by their title and their surname first, then if they feel comfortable to move to a first name basis, they will advise which one for you to use. Some Chinese Singaporeans use a more western name and may ask you to call them that. Gift giving in this culture has many differences than our own. A gift may be refused three times before being accepted showing the recipient is not greedy. Giving scissors, knives or cutting utensils indicate the severance of a relationship. Clocks, handkerchiefs, straw sandals, storks, and flowers are all associated with sick and death and should not be given as gifts. Gifts are wrapped in red, pink, or yellow because these are considered happy colors. White, blue, or black wrapping papers are considered mourning colors. Bringing a small gift of fruit, sweets, or cakes to a social gathering is considered understood and mandatory for the children attending. Gifts are not opened when received and odd numbers of anything aren’t exchanged as they are considered unlucky ("kwintessential").
Malay Singaporeans do not have surnames. Instead, men add their father’s name to their own name with the connector word “bin” so Noor bin Isa would be Noor, son of Isa. Women use the connector