Swedish Meetings

Meetings tend to be long with a great deal of open debate. Everybody has a view and everybody’s view is worthy of airing and consideration.

However, opinions are expected to be backed up by empirical evidence, which means that a great deal of pre-planning and preparation are expected.

As has already been stated, punctuality is of central importance in Sweden. Lateness is largely indefensible as it implies a lack of courtesy and respect for the other members present. In discussions about the approach to business, Swedes raise the importance of punctuality more often and more strongly than almost any other nationality.

Agendas are usually produced and would, on the whole, be adhered to. Agendas bring the necessary structure to a wide-ranging, consensus-seeking debate. Without an agenda, the meeting would run the risk of disintegrating into an aimless discussion.

During the meeting, participants will tend to speak one at a time with little interruption of the person who has the floor. Those wishing to make a point will often indicate the fact by raising their hands to attract the attention of the person in the chair. As a result, meetings can have a cold, detached feeling for those more used to emotional responses and where many people attempt to interject at the same time.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Sweden is an open, diversified and competitive economy which has always looked to international trade as an outlet for its products and services. Over the past few decades Sweden has increasingly focused on the development of high-tech products and services and on the green economy which has helped put a relatively small country right at the vanguard of global development.
In addition, Swedish demographics have been helped by the influx of large number of immigrants from around the world who have added both numbers and skills to the highly educated native Swedish population. All of this adds up to a country which represents a host of opportunities to companies and individuals who have the right products or services – ones which will appeal to a very discerning mark place.

Doing business in Sweden is relatively simple and unencumbered with much of the bureaucracy and red tape often found in other countries. However, Sweden is a high-cost economy and you can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t get your strategy and planning right from the outset. Part of your planning should be to do some homework on Swedish business culture – like all other countries Sweden has its own unique approach to doing things in a business context and you really need to understand these nuances if you hope to make the right impression.

Sweden is one of the most egalitarian business cultures in the world and people from a more hierarchical culture can often find it difficult to understand how this impacts on business operations. For example, going straight to the top might not be the right approach in a country where power and information are shared openly throughout an organisation and showing less respect to one person than another based on job title will definitely be frowned upon.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Swedish 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