The Norwegian Cultural Background

Meeting and Greeting

  • Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile.
  • Norwegians are egalitarian and casual; they often introduce themselves with their first name only.
  • In some circumstances people may use the honorific title “Herr” (Mr.) or “Fru” (Mrs.) and their surname.
  • You can wait to be invited before moving to first names although most people will start with this.
  • Shake hands and say good-bye individually when arriving or departing.

Gift Giving Etiquette

  • If invited to a Norwegian’s home, bring flowers, chocolates, pastries, wine, or imported spirits to the hostess.
  • Flowers may be sent the morning of a dinner party so they may be displayed that evening.
  • Do not give carnations, lilies or white flowers as they are used at funerals.
  • Do not give even numbers of flowers.
  • A bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers is always appreciated.
  • Gifts are opened when received.

Building Relationships & Communication

  • Norwegians are transactional and do not need long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business.
  • Giving a well-researched presentation indicates that you are serious about conducting business.
  • Norwegians respect confident, self-assured businesspeople.
  • They are excellent time managers who do not require face-to-face contact in order to conduct business.
  • 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 are conservative and deliberate speakers who do not appreciate being rushed.
  • 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.
  • Punctuality is imperative since it indicates trustworthiness.
  • Send an agenda before the meeting so that your Norwegian colleagues can be prepared.