Swedish Business Etiquette Tips
Business people looking to establish and grow a presence in new Swedish markets will benefit greatly from practicing proper Swedish business etiquette. . Being familiar with and practicing this etiquette will give you an advantage when working with your Swedish colleagues.
Keep in mind that Swedish culture is calm and reserved. Please respect the personal space of your Swedish colleagues. Avoid standing too close, speaking too loudly or gesturing too passionately. Please avoid using superlatives, as this is a sign of insincerity. By demonstrating proficiency in Swedish business etiquette, you will impress your colleagues and demonstrate your aptitude in the business world.
Swedish Business Meeting Etiquette
Proper business etiquette for Swedish meetings is distinct from that in the United States and in many other countries. Here are some business etiquette tips to help you appropriately interact with your Swedish colleagues:
- Be punctual - If you are going to be late, please call. If you are going to be more than 30 minutes late, offer your Swedish colleague the option to reschedule. However, do not be early. You might create a situation of discomfort for your Swedish colleague.
- Communicate Directly - Swedes communicate directly, getting straight to the facts. They do not speak loudly or gesture passionately. Please follow their lead. If you appear emotional, your Swedish colleagues may try to calm you down. Always remain calm and reserved during negotiations. Please do not use superlatives. Swedes see this as insincere.
- Be prepared for silence - Swedes are comfortable with silence during conversation. Please do not try to fill these silences unnecessarily.
- Do not expect small talk - Swedes prefer to get to business directly. If you don't speak Swedish, consider hiring a Swedish translator or interpreter to demonstrate your professionalism and facilitate communication.
- Do not wear flashy clothes - Swedes discourage ostentatious displays of wealth. Senior business people and lower ranking business people do not dress any differently from each other, as doing so would mark status. Make sure your clothes are neat and clean. Please avoid glitzy jewelry and strong perfumes.
- Set an agenda - Swedes keep to an agenda during meetings. Wasting time is considered by Swedes to be the same as stealing someone’s property. Meetings generally have a set time for starting and ending.
Other helpful tips for Swedish business meetings include:
- Sweden is an egalitarian society. Men and women are treated as equals.
- Consensus is very important to Swedes. Everyone expects to have a chance to give his or her opinion. Do not interrupt when someone is speaking. Swedes consider this very rude. Go that extra mile and impress your Swedish colleagues by offering a Swedish translation of all pertinent documents.
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- Do not compare one region of Sweden as better than another. Swedes are very sensitive about home regions. Please refrain from grouping Swedes with Danes, Norwegians and Finns. Each has a distinct culture.
- Avoid scheduling meetings before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. Also, please avoid scheduling meetings from June-August, as many Swedes vacation during these months.
- Feel free to comment on nature or the weather with your Swedish colleagues. Swedes are very proud of nature and often take time to admire and experience it. Many Swedes have country homes.
- Avoid using sarcasm when speaking with your Swedish colleagues. They will see this as rude and arrogant. Also please avoid asking a Swedish colleague about his or her personal life. Swedes prefer to keep their business lives and personal lives separate.
Values Honored in Swedish Speaking Countries:
- Direct Communication
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