- Business meetings start and end at agreed times. Normally hands are shaken both before and after the meetings. You should always arrange your appointments with your Danish business partners well in advance (at least two weeks before the actual meeting). Danes like to keep it simple and meetings to be short and well-structured with as little paperwork as possible. However, a written agenda will be followed and all the most important agreements and decisions recorded in a written summary to be circulated following the meeting.
- The meetings might begin with some small-talk. Then Danes get straight right to the point.
- When addressing your Danish counterpart, don’t hesitate to use their first names rather than their surname and title. This is also appropriate for those you haven’t met before.
- Most meetings will be managed by a particular person, but all individuals are expected to contribute to the discussion.
- Decisions are rarely made during initial meetings. The first meeting tends to be quite general.
- When decisions are made, they are most often made by consensus across teams. Impulsive decisions are rare.
People from Denmark are easy-going, flexible and patient in negotiations. They are good listeners known for their ability to secure good deals without making enemies. They tend to be quite frank in the way they speak since direct communication is perceived as being sincere and honest. The Danes are meticulous when it comes to analyzing information and proposals. Bring a wealth of written information for your Danish counterpart to examine. Presentations should be factual and well-organized. Having the ‘gift of the gab’ will get you nowhere if it is not supported by logical, rational and proven evidence.
Organisations tend to be egalitarian, so subordinates often have more responsibility in conducting negotiations or closing a deal. Regardless of whom you are meeting, Danes tend to be extremely detail focused and will pay a great deal of attention to the specifics of your presentation. In turn, take note of small details and be well prepared with supporting, accurate and relevant data. The key is to remain calm and controlled during negotiations.
- July and August are the most common holiday months for Danes. Therefore you should avoid trying to arrange any meetings at that particular time.
- Another important point in the business meeting etiquette in Denmark: Handshakes (with men and women). These are the accepted form of greeting in Denmark.
- The Danes are modest people in public. They tend to be very low-key. In order to fit in with their behaviour, subdue yourself a bit, especially if you are animated by nature. The key to being accepted and respected in Denmark is to blend in rather than stand out.
- Punctuality in Denmark is highly valued. People are viewed as discourteous if they are late. If you will be late, do let your Swedish counterpart know.
- When running a meeting it is important to remember that the Danes tend to be matter of fact and businesslike in their conduct and they appreciate dialogue and the idea of democracy. It is normal to discuss subjects thoroughly in order to reach an agreement. It is not common – as it is in the US and the UK – to resolve matters by vote. Rather, people discuss in order to achieve consensus and to see matters from all possible perspectives.
Many executives will be impressed by a prompt follow up of actions agreed at a meeting.
You can also invite your business associates out for a drink. This may be a good time to get to know each other better and build up a stronger relationship.
Author : Scroope, Chara. (2019). The Cultural Atlas