Most foreigners are bound to leave a lasting impression on Norwegians on first impression. The National Geographic refers to this as “je ne sais quoi” or the “X-Factor.” When the author responds to a Norwegian’s smile by returning it, the X-Factor will draw the two people together. In a bar or restaurant, this phenomenon may occur without the writer’s conscious thought. A little later, the writer may realize that the two people are having a conversation and he has been included.
At no time during the interaction does the writer go on to say, “I’m from America” or “I’m from England.” Nor should the writer bring up a question about the differences in culture between the two countries. The X-Factor does the talking.
Let’s take an example from the author’s experience. At a party at a well-known Norwegian’s home, many people were discussing the comparative sizes of the two nations. Several of the conversation participants were expatriate Americans.
One of the Americans said, “I don’t see how Norway can remain such a small country, since Norway is growing so fast.” It was a completely innocent statement. The American had no intention of offending anyone. But one of the Norwegians, an American-Norwegian (Americans working for the U.S. Embassy in Oslo) immediately countered, “Norway will be a very small country in fifty years. It has already been a small country for a thousand years and, in fact, in four hundred years Norway will be a very small country.”
The Norwegian made his point by referring to the size of Norway during another era. The writer thought that Norway would be, at least, one of the United States’ Nordic neighbors. But this is not the way the Norwegians think about their country.
They believe that Norway doesn’t care whether it is a small country or large one. All Norwegians do, however, is to take the more perfect and more advanced nature of the two countries, England and the United States, and incorporate it into the culture of their country. The Norwegians see themselves as being at the forefront of the human evolution.
With this attitude, business etiquette in Norway can seem abrupt and insensitive to Americans. Whenever you approach a Norwegian, never say, “I am (your name).” Stick to “Hello.”
Norwegian Business Law and Customs Union
Define business-oriented customs in Norway Business Etiquette in Norway: Etiquette Tips, Rules and Protocols for Meetings, Conventions, Dining, Business Phone Calls, etc. Business Etiquette in Norway … – Biz Etiquette In Norway: Etiquette Tips, Rules and Protocols for Meetings, Conventions, Dining, Business Phone Calls, etc. Business Etiquette in Norway … –
At a party, when someone approaches you, the best response you can give is “Hello.” If the Norwegian wants to talk to you, take some time to talk. If he wants to leave, just say goodbye.
In the past, I have heard several American expatriates complain about the coldness of the Norwegians. None of the Norwegians I know are cold at all. Norwegians are social people, and they like talking. They appreciate being able to travel and to meet new people. They do not look down upon foreigners. They don’t have to have an IQ of 200 to talk to either. On the contrary, meeting and talking with people who do not know any Norwegian or Swedish makes them more curious about the country and its culture.
To determine business etiquette in Norway, you need to ask any Norwegian about the reaction to foreigners. There are a lot of ways for foreigners to hit bottom with a Norwegian. Don’t come on the tell-a-Norwegian-anything plan. The Norwegians are very good at finding mistakes in the English language, for example. The Norwegians are very good at listening to Norwegian-language broadcasts on radio and television, so educate yourself before you start telling them about your home country. Essential Business Etiquette In Norway tips for profesional leaders
Any attempts to show off your knowledge of Norwegian culture, customs or language could turn a Norwegian away from you. Norwegians have studied all of this information thoroughly.
Among the most insulting things you can say to a Norwegian is to ask them if they know how to pronounce a particular word in Norwegian. Norwegians already know how to pronounce every Norwegian word. Norwegians practice listening to the language all day, since it is so important to them.
Norwegians will feel that you are complimenting them if you compliment their country. Norwegians will feel good if you tell them that you like their country or their people. There are several topics to avoid. In terms of Norwegian business etiquette, criticisms or remarks about the Swedish, the Norwegian king or the Swedish of Norway (a very closed subject) are probably the worst of these topics.
One Norwegian business leader said, “Our roots come from Norwegian Viking heritage.” In other words, Norway is the greatest place on earth. The leader went on to describe the history, the culture and the language of Norway. He told the writer about the ancient Viking culture and its customs and about the contributions of King Harald Fairhair to the culture and its customs.
What kind of business etiquette in Norway can the author learn? That the Norwegians are proud of their heritage and don’t want anyone to mess with it. The Norwegians want to be left alone to develop and define their culture. One clue to Norwegian business etiquette in Norway: the Norwegians feel that their country is the place for people to come to if they want to enjoy the best of what God can give.
This is their duty. This is another clue: When I ask how Norway can stay a small country, they have a very definite answer. They say that the United States and England have tried to send all of the bad people to Norway, since Norway is the best place in the world.
This is the long way to answer this question in terms of business etiquette in Norway. The Norwegians feel that they have the good sections of England and the United States — the good background and the good thoughts — inside their genes. They have taken all the best parts of these two countries and put them in their country to form a new and better world. It will never be repetitious or boring. It will always be changing and growing. It will always be tasteful and exciting. In all of these areas, the Norwegians are right.
Greetings in Norwegian
- a) Good morning: – God morgen
- b) Good afternoon: – God dag
- c) Good evening: – God kveld
- d) Good night: – God natt
- e) Welcome: – Velkommen
- f) Have a safe journey: – Tur og retur
- g) See you again: – Hilsen tilbake
- h) Good luck!: – Lycka till!..
- a) The regular handshake (used for introduction) – The handshake is firm, but it should not be too forceful .
- b) The business type handshake (used for greeting) – The hande is held with fingers pointing upwards
- c) The secret handshake – the clasped hands of each party are placed under the table (where no one can see them) and after about three seconds, a second or third person is expected to enter the room, thus releasing the hands.
A small gift from Norway reflects the donor’s close ties with the recipient. Gifts are opened when received. Giving and receiving gifts is an important activity in Norway both as token of gratitude and a means of cementing social and business relationships.
The most popular of gifts are Norwegian chocolates, furs, crystal, and handcrafted knives.
Business Meeting Etiquette in Norway
Before attending meetings in Norway, study their rules of etiquette. To board the plane, you must come to the gate 30 minutes before take off. This is the time to give your greeting to your colleagues.
When you come in the meeting room, look around and greet every attendant in the room. Look for the attendant with the highest status, and greet her first. If there is a man and a woman as the highest status attendant, greet the woman first.
Be sure to watch for the business card of the person you are greeting and remember to write your name and the name of your company on that person’s business card. If you have trouble identifying a person with a business card, point to the appropriate person, and ask her name.
If there are more than one Norwegian in the room, tell him that you are familiar with him (remember his name), and ask his opinion about some recent business happening in Norway. Norwegian business etiquette teaches you to involve each partner in the conversation.
Norwegian Business Card Etiquette
Norwegian business cards are exchanged, but they aren’t very common. It is considered polite to greet everyone in the room, but it is impolite to greet everyone individually.
Business Meetings in Norway
Meetings in Norway start at the requested time. If someone is late, he/she will be politely reminded that the meeting has already started. Try not to start the meeting until the person has arrived. If a Norwegian is late for a business meeting, he/she will be required to give a solid reason for it.
The rules for Meetings are
- a) Begin the meeting with a prayer, and end it with a prayer.
- b) Sing a hymn before the meeting.
- c) Take an offering before the meeting and put it in the collection plate.
- d) Include a selection of Psalms and Bible verses during the meetings.
- e) Read a psalm and offer a prayer for the decisions of the business meeting.
- f) Do not hold meetings on Sunday, or on Tuesday after church.
- g) Meetings end with “Amen!”
Meeting Etiquette in Norway
- a) The highest ranking individual (top to bottom: minister, ambassador, president) is to speak first.
- b) You may make personal remarks about the person’s home, family or area of residence, but never make age related comments since there are age related jokes in Norway.
- c) Point out that the individual is from a small town.
- d) Express your gratitude for the individual taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with you.
- e) Mention how important the individual is to Norway to you personally and or to your company.
- f) The three most popular topics are: Business, President Bush and Business.
- g) When an individual finishes speaking, never say “thank you”; the Norwegian says, “I’ll pray”.
- h) Avoid play acting since the Norwegians are the masters at this.
- i) When entering the meeting room, ask the Norwegian business contact, “What does this line mean”?
- j) If you ask a Norwegian what the meaning of a song is, you will be asked to sing the song while they play the piano.