Danish Meetings

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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Overview

Denmark is often cited as the ‘happiest’ country in the world. Whether or not this is true (Danes are also high consumers of anti-depressants), Denmark certainly seems to have a lot going for it. As a small country with a tiny population, the country has been able to develop an enviable level of affluence and great standard of living for most of its people. Danes enjoy good levels of social security, universal healthcare plan and a very generous universal pension for which the quid pro quo are high taxes. It would appear that, for the time being at least, Danes are very satisfied with this balanced approach.

What fuels this level of affluence and contentment? How can a small country deliver such great economic results? The answer must be something to do with the Danish approach to business. Denmark has managed to carve out very specific niches for itself across a range of different sectors and at the same time develop a reputation for very high levels of quality. Danes strive for excellence in delivery and on many occasions, they are able to achieve it.

If you have a product or service which really does deliver in terms of quality, then you should consider doing business in Denmark. However, as with all countries, Denmark has its own way of doing things and if you are looking at doing business in Denmark you are best advised to develop an understanding of the key drivers that underpin the Danish approach to business. Danes are happy to adapt their approach to new markets so maybe you should consider adapting your approach when you go to Denmark.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Danish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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