If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will see operating in business in Norway, they would be:
Building Relationships & CommunicationEtiquette in Norway
Norwegians are transactional and do not need long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business.
Nonetheless, they prefer to do business with those they trust, so it is important that you provide information about yourself and the company you represent prior to meeting your business colleagues.
Relationships develop slowly and depend upon the other person being professional and meeting all agreed upon deadlines.
Giving a well-researched presentation indicates that you are serious about conducting business.
The basic business style is relatively informal.
Norwegians respect confident, self-assured businesspeople.
They are excellent time managers who do not require face-to-face contact in order to conduct business.
If you are like-minded, the relationship will develop over time.
Appearing overly friendly at the start of a relationship may be viewed as weakness. Maintaining eye contact while speaking is interpreted as sincerity.
Norwegians are direct communicators.
They have no difficulty telling their colleagues that they disagree with something that has been said.
Their communication is straightforward and relies on facts.
They are conservative and deliberate speakers who do not appreciate being rushed.
They are scrupulous about honesty in communication, often to the point of pointing out the negatives in their own proposals in greater detail than the positives.
Norwegians are not emotive speakers and their body language is subtle.
Business Meeting Etiquette
Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible.
Appointments may be made in writing or by telephone.
If writing, address the letter to the head of the division, even if you do not know the person.
Punctuality is imperative since it indicates trustworthiness.
If you are delayed even 5 minutes, it is polite to telephone and explain the situation. Arriving late without prior notice can damage a potential relationship.
It is often difficult to schedule meetings during July and August, which are popular vacation times; during the two weeks before and after Christmas; and during the week before and after Easter.
Meetings are rather informal.
Send an agenda before the meeting so that your Norwegian colleagues can be prepared.
There is not much small talk. Norwegians prefer to get to the business discussion quickly.
Presentations should be precise and concrete, and backed up with charts, figures and analysis.
Avoid hype or exaggerated claims in your presentation.
Leave time for Q&A at the end of a presentation. Norwegians do not interrupt and will save their questions until you have finished speaking.
Decisions are consensus driven.
Expect decisions to take time as your colleagues must weigh all the alternatives.
Present a firm, realistic, and competitive initial price and expect a minimum of bargaining.
Price is often the most important deciding factor.
Norwegians do not generally give discounts, even to good customers or for large orders.
Norwegians are detail oriented.
Maintain eye contact while speaking.
Negotiations are frank.
Avoid high-pressure sales tactics.
It is imperative to adhere to deadlines and commitments. If you do not, you will not be considered trustworthy, which will destroy the business relationship.
New concepts should be shown to be high quality, practical, and already market tested.
Do not interrupt others while they are speaking.