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Business Etiquettes in Finland


Finns are transactional and do not need long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business. The basic business style is formal – i.e. there is relatively little small talk and Finns prefer people to speak succinctly and to focus purely on business.

Finns do not require face-to- face contact and, in fact, are quite comfortable using e- mail. They are excellent time managers who prefer to organise their workday in order to accomplish as much as possible, and also, interested in long-term relationships. Relationship building often takes place outside the office, say in a restaurant or the sauna. Never turn down an invitation to use the sauna, as it is an entrenched part of the Finnish culture.

Finns place a great value on speaking plainly and openly. What someone says is accepted at face value and this is a culture where 'a man's word is his bond' and will be treated as seriously as a written contract, so verbal commitments are considered agreements.

Finns are direct communicators. So, do expect your colleagues to tell you what they think rather than what you want to hear. Professional differences are not viewed as personal attacks.

Business Meeting Etiquette

  • Appointments are necessary and should be made in advance by telephone, e- mail or fax.
  • It is extremely difficult to meet with people without a formal appointment.
  • Do not schedule meetings between June and August as many Finns take vacation during the summer.
  • You should arrive at meetings on time or slightly early.
  • Telephone immediately if you will be detained more than 5 minutes. Being punctual is a sign of respect and efficiency.
  • Expect a bare minimum of small talk, if any, before getting into the business discussion.
  • Send an agenda before the meeting as well as the biographies of your team.
  • Meetings begin and end on time.
  • Avoid hype, exaggerated claims, or bells and whistles in your presentation.
  • Finns seldom ask questions. The presenter is expected to make his/her case with sufficient detail that their Finnish colleagues do not need to ask questions.
  • There is no taboo on humour in the business environment.
    • Dress Etiquette

      • Business attire is stylish and conservative.
      • Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.
      • Women should wear conservative business suits, trouser suits or dresses.

      Business Card Etiquette

      • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
      • Present your business card so it is readable to the recipient.
      • Treat someone's business card with respect as it symbolizes the way you will treat them.




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