The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Finland
A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z
Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Finland
It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.
This article on cultural differences in Finland and cultural travel tips for Finland is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Finland, tips for communicating in Finland, and business strategies for Finland to help with understanding the culture in Finland. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Finland and tips for intercultural communication!
Cultural Tips for Finland – including some valuable business travel tips for Finland
The rules for greeting strangers or introducing yourself are very similar to northern European practice, though Finns are more restrained and don’t show much emotion.
Men and women shake hands quite comfortably, and women have no problem doing business in Finland.
Finns usually use first names, unless there are big differences in age or rank, or it is a very formal setting.
Finns maintain eye contact when talking with others, and this is considered important because they think that people who do not maintain eye contact are hiding something or may be dishonest.
Many foreigners find the Finns’ tolerance of silence strange. Finns avoid small talk in business because they feel it’s not relevant.
Finns are very punctual and expect the same of foreigners. In case you are late (for a very good reason), call or send a message apologizing and giving the time when you’ll be there. If a meeting is scheduled for one hour, it usually ends in one hour.
There are very short introductions (just a few sentences at most) with a cup of coffee, and then they get straight down to business.
In Finnish meetings, people state facts, even unpleasant ones, rather bluntly without any softening or beating around the bush.
Finns are typically analytical thinkers and tend to focus more on technical facts rather than emotional appeal.
There is no ritual like a handshake to formally end a meeting, but sometimes hands are shaken with foreigners or when deals are made.
In business Finns dress conservatively, usually dark business suits in the winter and light suits in the summer for both men and women, although they have relaxed over the years. Men typically wear suits or jacket and shirt, often with no tie. Dress codes depend very much on the industry and workplace traditions.
Finns are very minimalistic in giving compliments. After some time, a foreigner gets a feeling that compliments are almost non-existent. On getting compliments, Finns just thank and don’t dwell on it.
Finns are private people who tend to avoid public displays of emotion. Unlike neighboring Russians, Finns are not very touchy, especially the men. Backslapping is rarely seen in Finland and is perceived as patronizing.
Shouting, making a scene, or drawing too much attention to oneself is considered rude.
When talking to a Finn, remember not to group Finns together with citizens of other Nordic countries, particularly not Sweden.
Finns never interrupt when someone is speaking and tend to distrust those who talk too much.
The working style is individualistic, and people are used to working alone and hard. Team working is becoming more common, though, and interest in social and communication skills is growing.
Finns believe in continuous learning and work very hard to upgrade their skills. Usually Finns are rather pragmatic and not very conservative when it comes to new ideas as long as the ideas make sense.
The typical pace of business in Finland is rather brisk with things happening in clearly visible phases. Finns are thorough and sincere. The saying that makes it clear is, “Everything that is worth doing, is worth doing well”.
An agreement is considered final when a paper contract is signed. The country has an independent judiciary to take care of contract disputes.
July and August are the best summer months and practically everyone is on vacation in July. Nothing much gets done then.
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips
Positive travel experiences in Finland and other countries
Your business background and experience
Finnish history, sports, and other aspects of the culture
All current events of a global nature
Less is more… keep small talk minimal
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos
Excessive small talk in general
Personal questions about them or their family
The poor weather if there during winter
Politics in general, unless it is related to business
Don’t try to fill what may be to you as ‘uncomfortable silence’
Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for FRANCE!
To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the cultural communication styles for Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book
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Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!
Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Leadership Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized training programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural Diversity, Customer Service, Leadership Coaching, Presentation Skills, Sales Negotiations, Stress Management, Team building, and Time Management Training.
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