10 tips on how to make a good impression when working with Swedes

You will make a good impression with Swedes if you appear calm, level-headed, honest and open. Arguments and presentations should be backed up by hard fact rather than emotion. Heated discussion, boasting, arrogance and a flashy appearance are inappropriate. Diversity is highly valued ; never make assumptions about anybody based on their appearance or apparent seniority.

You should be seen as a good team player, and be prepared for meetings in which everybody has their say. Don’t push the Swedish into making snap decisions. Be respectful of punctuality and deadlines.

10 tips on practising good business etiquette with Swedes

  1. Swedes are motivated by the urge to agree on things. Heated discussions are rare, and the best way to convince of your idea is to present your proposal in a well-planned, logical way.
  2. The Swedish can come across as reserved and formal; it takes time to get to know someone.
  3. Swedes value punctuality. Arrive on time for meetings. Plan your and rehearse your presentations well so you don’t overrun on time.
  4. Swedes prefer to discuss the practical elements and outcomes of an idea rather than the concept itself. Make sure you are able to provide back-up data to satisfy this orientation for details.
  5. Scandinavian countries are competitive with one another. You will win approval of your Swedish counterparts if you understand cultural differences between Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
  6. Silence is something Swedes are comfortable with in communication, so do not be put off by long pauses in conversation.
  7. Women and men are treated as equals in Sweden so expect everyone to be involved in the decision-making processes.
  8. Good leaders are those who can bring out the best in a team; coaches rather than referees or controllers.
  9. The Swedish may seem to take a long time to make decisions; this is because of their consensual approach.
  10. Avoid open disagreement and conflict as much as possible.

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About the Author

Sue Bryant

Sue Bryant is an award-winning writer and editor specialising in global business culture and travel.

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