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.