Relationships & Communication
. Finns are transactional and do not need long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business.
. The basic business style is formal - i.e. there is relatively little small talk and Finns prefer people to speak succinctly and to focus purely on business.
. Finns do not require face-to- face contact and, in fact, are quite comfortable using e- mail.
. Finns are excellent time managers who prefer to organize their workday in order to accomplish as much as possible.
. Finns are interested in long- term relationships.
. Relationship building often takes place outside the office: in a restaurant or the sauna.
. Never turn down an invitation to use the sauna, as it is an entrenched part of the Finnish culture.
. Finns place a great value on speaking plainly and openly.
. What someone says is accepted at face value and this is a culture where "a man's word is his bond" and will be treated as seriously as a written contract, so verbal commitments are considered agreements.
. Finns are direct communicators. Expect your colleagues to tell you what they think rather than what you want to hear.
. Professional differences are not viewed as personal attacks.
Business Meeting Etiquette
. Appointments are necessary and should be made in advance by telephone, e- mail, or fax.
. It is extremely difficult to meet with people without a formal appointment.
. Do not schedule meetings between June and August as many Finns take vacation during the summer.
. You should arrive at meetings on time or slightly early.
. Telephone immediately if you will be detained more than 5 minutes. Being punctual is a sign of respect and efficiency.
. Expect a bare minimum of small talk, if any, before getting into the business discussion.
. Send an agenda before the meeting as well as the biographies of your team.
. Meetings begin and end on time.
. Avoid hype, exaggerated claims, or bells and whistles in your presentation.
. Finns seldom ask questions. The presenter is expected to make his/her case with sufficient detail that their Finnish colleagues do not need to ask questions.
. There is no taboo on humour in the business environment.
. Business attire is stylish and conservative.
. Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.
. Women should wear conservative business suits, trouser suits, or dresses.
Business Card Etiquette
. Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
. Present your business card so it is readable to the recipient.
. Treat someone's business card with respect as it symbolizes the way you will treat them.