fbpx
Stories about life in Denmark, Working in Denmark: Danish Business Culture

How to handle a Danish business meeting

A Danish business meeting is just one element of the Danish decision-making process – which can be extensive, as the people involved seek consensus on whatever issue is being discussed. There’s an old Danish saying that “A disagreement is a discussion that ended too soon.”

So get to the meeting location precisely on time – or even a couple of minutes early – and be ready to say your piece. On some occasions, you should also be ready to be in it for the long haul.

One thing that sets apart Danish (or Nordic) meetings is that every single person, from the boss down to the student helper, will be having his or her say on the matter at hand.

There is no particular hierarchy or order in a meeting, usually no written agenda, and no requirement that any one particular person speaks first or speaks last.

The only thing that’s a “must” is that you’re well-enough researched in your part of the meeting to have an intelligent opinion, and that you express it directly and politely.

Well-considered and even provocative questions are okay too, as long as they relate to the topic at hand.

Disagreement is okay
One of the most difficult things for people from hierarchical cultures to learn is that it’s perfectly okay to disagree with your Danish boss at these meetings, assuming you do so respectfully and have facts to back up your point of view.

In fact, your bosses will probably be angrier if you act like a yes-man and fail to point out obvious flaws in their arguments that might lead to a disastrous business decision. (“Why didn’t you say anything?”)

Danish children are brought up to challenge their parents and their teachers. In this anti-authoritarian culture, silent obedience buys you nothing.

Do Danish meetings have any purpose?
Final decisions are rarely made at a Danish business meeting: in fact, whatever gets decided at the meeting may be reversed the next day if someone gets a better idea or if new information comes in.

In fact, you may leave the meeting feeling you’ve accomplished nothing at all. But you have: you’ve been part of the consensus.

.


Kay Xander Mellish books

Buy Kay’s books about Denmark on Amazon, Saxo, Google Books, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Nook, or via our webshop.

Image mashup copyright Kay Xander Mellish 2021

Read more:
Decoding your Danish pay slip and understanding your Danish taxes
What to wear to work in Denmark: Quiet colors, quality cut and fabric
Your first day at work in Denmark: Handshakes, passwords, and several people named Mette
Trailing spouses and working in Denmark
Motivating Danish employers: Tips for foreign managers
Networking in Denmark: 5 useful tips for making Danish business contacts
Secrets of socializing with your Danish colleagues
The Danish art of taking time off
Your free daily banana and five weeks off: Job benefits in Denmark
Why job titles aren’t that important in Denmark
The Danish job interview
Job search in Denmark: Your Danish cover letter plus LinkedIn plus two magic words
Job hunting in Denmark: Putting together your Danish CV
Fine-tuning your approach to the Danish job market
Finding a job in Denmark: Some tips from my experience
Is joining a union a waste of money? And what is the difference between a union and an A-kasse?
Will I ever be promoted? Plus, how to leverage your annual review
Taking sick days in Denmark, plus how to deal with stress

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like