Danes tend to have lots of meetings and often complain that they are too long.

Meetings can be used as information exchanges, discussion forums or decision-making events and it is important that all participants are made aware of the emphasis of the meeting in advance in order to allow the appropriate level of preparation to be undertaken. Although thorough empirical preparation for meetings is seen as essential, pre-meeting lobbying can be seen as underhand and Machiavellian.

Meetings tend to follow a pre-determined agenda, which is nearly always adhered to. Although not as zealous as their neighbours (the Swedes), punctuality is definitely a virtue and meetings will begin and end on time.

Due to the consensus-orientation of the Danes, meetings can seem to be overly discursive to cultures more used to a command and control approach from management. Everybody is expected to speak and everybody is (ostensibly) listened to.

Debate can be very direct but is rarely confrontational – confrontation being seen as unhelpful in the consensus-building process. Attendees tend to speak one at a time and often seek permission from the meeting leader before speaking. Interrupting somebody who is speaking and overt signs of emotion are seen as poor meeting etiquette and would be frowned upon.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Denmark

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Denmark. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Denmark and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips