Norwegians are very open to new ideas and are considered very progressive in their approach to modern technology. Nevertheless, there are certain standards that they cling to – particularly in business life. So that you can prepare for business success with Norwegians, we have put together the most important things that you should bear in mind.
The greeting – how to make a good impression
It is never too early to make a good impression. In Norway, people greet each other with a handshake. After exchanging pleasantries, it is normal to exchange business cards. Suitable topics for small talk include winter sports and outdoor pursuits. It is also a good idea to drop the names of a few famous Norwegians. Avoid criticizing Norwegian politics and culture. It is also inadvisable to ask personal questions of someone you have only just met.
Norwegians generally adopt a smart casual style of dress in the office. However, when attending official occasions, you should still choose more formal attire. Men and women would then wear a suit. Most important is that you present a well-groomed appearance.
Forms of address and introductions
In Norway, people are quickly on first name terms. When meeting someone for the first time, however, you should still use their last name. As the relationship progresses, take your cues from your opposite number. If he invites you to call him by his first name, then you should do so. If he has two first names, make sure you don’t abbreviate his name to one.
Negotiate the right way
A structured and goal-oriented approach to work is expected in Norway. Don’t be afraid to say what you think but don’t raise your voice to do it unless you want to be considered impolite. Don’t try to force a decision. Instead, you should try to find an interim solution with which both parties are satisfied. It is probably a bad idea to schedule important decision-making phases in the summer months. July and August are the main holiday months. A lot of people also take time off at Easter and Christmas as well.
Don’t leave people waiting
Norwegians value punctuality. If you find that you are running late, make sure you let the person you are meeting know that you are going to be late and why. Apologize for the delay, even it is beyond your control. Never waste their time when negotiating with someone from Norway, work-life-balance is very important there.
Management hierarchies in Norway are flat. This can be seen particularly in job equality between men and women. It is enshrined in law that 40% of management positions must be filled by women. Decisions are not made by the person at the top of the management pyramid alone. They consult with colleagues and seek the opinion of their employees. Bosses are happy to accept suggestions for improvement. The overall mood of most Norwegian companies is one of friendly collaboration.