The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: DENMARK
Punctuality is very important, so make the effort to be exactly on time for all business appointments. Danes expect punctuality for social engagements as well.
Many Europeans and South Americans write the day first, then the month, then the year. For example, October 21, 2005, is written 21.10.05. This is the custom in Denmark.
Although you may get the impression in your business dealings that Danes initially appear to be reserved or distant, in fact they can be a very warm people who enjoy lengthy conversations and being with friends. They are especially at ease at home and in other social settings.
It is considered rude to get too friendly with someone with whom you have only a casual acquaintance. This includes questions about the person’s private life or comments about religion, income and family.
Danish business introductions consist of a formal exchange. If you are sitting and being introduced to a new contact or associate, be sure to stand up before extending your hand. Offer a firm handshake as you make eye contact.
The Danes want each minute spent on the job to be productive and used effectively. It is important to arrive on time and give a well prepared presentation. Meetings move swiftly and will start and end on time.
Many people are flattered by compliments, but this is not the case with Danes. Danes sometimes consider compliments to be inappropriate.
Traditional Danish culture is always a good topic to discuss. Showing an interest in anything Danish from Hans Christian Andersen to Legos is appreciated.
There is an emphasis on individual initiative and achievement, with one’s competency being more important than his or her station in life. The dignity and worth of individuals is promoted along with the right to a private life and opinions.
Giving preferential treatment to anyone is discouraged. Denmark is such an equality entrenched society that you are expected to give the same preferential treatment to a janitor that you would to the organization president.
In comparison with other European countries, Denmark is one of the most progressive when it comes to equality between men and women. Moreover, Denmark ranks number one when it comes to the greatest percentage of women working outside the home and many women hold top positions in Danish companies.
It would be a mistake to introduce a business plan that will have detrimental side effects for the environment. You will find that Danes are committed to preserving the environment.
The Danes freely express their feelings. You may find them blunt, but that is their way. Be receptive to their comments and respond in a positive tone.
Danes are very tolerant, so it is not advisable to criticize other people or systems.
The Danish sense of humor tends to be more reserved or dry than the American sense of humor.
Generally speaking, Danes are people of their word. Once an agreement is signed, you can be certain that the project will move forward.
5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation
- Denmark! Danes are very proud and willing to share about their country
- Anything related to art, music and culture
- The progressive nature of business in Denmark, and the equality between men and women
- Your home country and the region you are from
- Non-controversial current events
5 Key Topics to Avoid in Conversation
- Avoid mentioning family and personal affairs, unless the topic is brought up
- Don’t initiate discussions about your private life or religion
- Avoid talking about personal finances.
- Avoid discussions about politics and socialism.
- Don’t talk about anyone in terms of inequality.
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Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert
Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the ‘5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Business Communications’, available in book or DVD. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.
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