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EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk 25 looking abroad consideration. Dress code on a stand is equally important. Dressing modestly is recommended and covered shoulders and knee length skirts would be preferred on ladies. Sleeveless tops are not acceptable and, while not prohibited, neither are short skirts and shorts. Local culture places a lot of value on honour and ' your word'. There is no true separation between personal and professional life. This means that business revolves much more around personal relationships. This is why a promise is valued as binding, more so than a written agreement because culturally a person's word is connected to their honour. Contracts are viewed as memorandums of understanding, rather than binding, fixed agreements. On a more practical note, the process of exhibiting will be familiar if you exhibit in the UK or Europe. There are various exhibitor manuals through which you can book services for your stand. International contractors will be able to tend to the needs of space- only or shell scheme exhibitors, with all of the usual configurations and support. If you have chosen space- only there are really only two options available, either a local build or shipping an existing stand from the UK. If it's your first time and you have an existing stand, it may be easier to ship it and have either a local contractor, or your regular contractor travel out and build it. If you do choose the shipping option, be aware of the shipping time and possible port congestion. As everything is imported from outside the region, the ports can become very busy, especially if there are many shows taking place. Use a shipping agent who is an expert in the region and, if possible have someone on the ground at the other end; local knowledge is invaluable. If you decide to use a local contractor, you may have quite a few receiving business cards. Showing the soles of the feet, or touching with a shoe or foot, is considered rude. The timing of religious observances and holidays will have a significant effect upon any exhibition. Appointments and meetings must be organised appropriately. The weekend here begins on Thursday evening and Friday is the day for congregational prayers, which are obligatory for all Muslim males. There are two major festivals; Eid al- Fitr follows Ramadan and Eid al- Adha follows the annual pilgrimage. It is usual for the exhibition calendar to account for these major festivals and there will be fewer shows and fewer, if any, local visitors. The Middle East remains a vibrant part of the world in which to exhibit. If care is taken to understand the cultural aspects, then the shows, venues and contractors are all in place to help you make the most of your attendance. It is really worth some serious consideration. Despite recent media reports, the Middle East still represents a bountiful place to do business barriers to overcome, like time difference, cultural and business differences, and sometimes language. When considering the stand itself, demonstrating knowledge of local culture will be appreciated. Taking reference from local architecture and using music, scents and essences will help to build empathy. Looking and acting ' local' will put local visitors at ease and help start to develop relationships. Also, never use your left hand as it is reserved for bodily hygiene and considered unclean. You should always use your right hand for eating, shaking hands and passing and " Contracts are viewed as memorandums of understanding, rather than binding agreements"