Doing Business in DenmarkFor an international business person, doing business abroad brings with it cross cultural challenges. Knowledge of a country's business attitudes and etiquette is an important element in establishing a comfortable atmosphere and easing business proceedings.
This short guide to doing business in Denmark is offered as an introductory guide to some of the above mentioned areas such as business culture, etiquette and attitudes. It is not intended to summarise all 'doing business tips' nor meant to stereotype the Danes. Rather, it highlights some important key areas for consideration when doing business in Denmark.
Doing Business - Meeting & Greeting Etiquette
Upon meeting people in Denmark shake hands. This is also the case when departing. It is perfectly acceptable to shake hands with women. When doing business there you will notice people rise when seated to greet people. The expression 'heij' (pronounced 'hi') is used when greeting and departing. Naming conventions in business are similar to the US and UK; first name followed by surname.
Danes like to leave space between themselves when interacting. When doing business in Denmark, be aware of other's personal space and try not to be too tactile.
Doing Business - Dress Etiquette
When doing business in Denmark, try and dress in a polished yet unassuming way. Despite a high standard of living, ostentation is frowned upon. Men should wear suits with white shirts, ties and polished shoes. Women should wear stylish yet modestly cut suits.
Doing Business - Meetings and Negotiations
If you are planning on doing business in Denmark then make an appointment at least two weeks in advance. Avoid the months of July and August as most businesses will run on skeleton staff due to the number of long holidays taken at this time of year.
Punctuality is important in Denmark. It is expected for all business and social engagements. If you are running late ensure you telephone and offer a valid reason.
Send an agenda prior to any meeting. At the beginning of meetings small talk is brief and courteous. You will notice when doing business in Denmark that the Danes are reasonably relaxed, informal and tolerant yet expect professional standards of behaviour. Being good humoured is acceptable but being humorous should be kept to a minimum. The Danes are very direct and frank communicators which is perceived in Denmark as a sign of sincerity and honesty.
If you are doing business in Denmark which involves negotiations, come well prepared. The Danes are meticulous when it comes to analysing information and proposals. Bring a wealth of information in written form for your Danish counterpart to examine. Presentations should be factual and well-organised. Having the 'gift of the gab' will get you nowhere if it is not supported by logical, rational and proven evidence.
Doing Business in Denmark
The above examples point to a few areas one must take into consideration when doing business in Denmark. The Danes are a tolerant and open-minded society, so the chances are that any cross cultural gaffe will not have terrible consequences. Such tips are meant as a safety-net for those doing business in Denmark to help avoid misunderstandings and promote better communication.
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