Denmark: 10 tips for business success when working with Danes

How to make a good impression when working with Danes

You will make a good impression in Denmark if you conform and fit in. Don’t try to be different, either in your home, your dress style or your interactions with Danes. Dress smartly and conservatively and adopt a calm demeanour; Danes are not given to vigorous displays of public affection. All decisions are made by consensus and it is important to respect this. Do not go over anybody’s head and involve whole teams in decision-making processes.

If Danes are critical of you or your decisions, do not take it personally. They expect to be able to express an opinion, whether positive or negative, and for the recipient not to take it personally. Danes are trained to question authority and you should also feel free to question them and to speak your mind.

Always be punctual for appointments and social events. Being late is the height of bad manners and Danes always try to be on time.

10 tips for success when working with Danes

  1. Competitors in business often know one another from business school – this is a small country, so show respect to everybody you deal with as word travels fast.
  2. Danes prefer to get down to business quickly with minimal small talk.
  3. Attention to detail, level-headedness and egalitarianism are national characteristics.
  4. Although they claim not to be snobbish, there are rivalries between Danes from different parts of the country. Danes have a high opinion of themselves and their culture but their self-effacing nature prohibits boasting about this.
  5. Danes are fairly insular and it can take a long time before true bonds of friendship are established.
  6. Decisions are usually made after consultation with everyone involved.
  7. In any relationship, maintaining hygge – a sense of comfort – is essential.
  8. Preparation is key before any meeting or transaction – Danes are taught to question everything and often hold strong opinions which are difficult to change.
  9. Human rights and environmental issues are key to any business decision.

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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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