Meetings are important in the Finnish context and are essential for the sharing of information.
As individuals like to be allowed to get on with their tasks in isolation, a forum is needed for the sharing of knowledge gained and progress made.
Meetings can seem strange affairs to people not familiar with Finland or the Finns – long but quiet. As will be discussed later, (see Communication Style), the Finnish approach to discourse is almost unique in its sparseness and this can lead non-Finns to make all kinds of erroneous judgements with regard to the tenor and effectiveness of a meeting they might attend. It is definitely true to say that, in Finland, the quality of your intervention is of much greater significance than the quantity. Less is very definitely more!
Meetings tend to be structured, follow a pre-set agenda and are orderly with one person speaking at a time – often seeking permission to speak through the Chair. People will be well prepared, as you are not expected to speak unless you have something concrete to contribute. There is likely to be little social chit-chat before getting down to business.
Finns view overt enthusiasm and hyperbole with suspicion and it is better to understate your case than to overstate it. Your actions and words are the basis upon which your worth will be measured. Finns will weigh you up over a period of time, but once they have decided in your favour, you have a relationship for life.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
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 Finland. 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 Finland 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: