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.
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 Sweden. 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 Sweden 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: