Cultural Differences – Denmark

Modesty is a must when dealing with Danes. This is how you will make the best impression on your Danish business partners. Introduce yourself very briefly and don’t attempt to show off with your titles and positions. Danes are very conscious of equality. It is much more important to be personable, warm and friendly.

Long discussions

It is also due to this principle of equality that many meetings in Danish companies go on for far too long. This is because great importance is attached to ensuring that everyone has had their say. The very open exchange of opinions often appears excessive to us. The Danes, however, cannot work through agenda points quickly; one wouldn’t want to upset the pleasant atmosphere, which is essential in the business environment as well.

Open presentations

When it is your turn to give a presentation, be sure to involve your Danish audience. The point is not to be too perfect, but to leave room for jointly developed ideas. Throw questions into the room and listen to the answers. Restrain yourself, listen carefully and show interest. Criticism should only be voiced with a lot of diplomacy. Instead of openly rejecting the idea, you should instead ask questions or make counterproposals. Even in tough discussions or negotiations, which certainly exist, you must at no time show a lack of respect and courtesy.

Concrete decisions

Despite the length of discussions, a clear result is usually achieved in the end. You can therefore expect concrete statements from your Danish business partners comparatively quickly. If you are assured that you will be informed the day after tomorrow whether a deal will be made or not, you can rely on the fact that this will be the case. Due to flat hierarchies, you will most likely have spoken to the responsible decision-makers right from the start and will not have to work your way through all levels to a decision-maker.

If no decision is taken after the meeting, do not put any pressure on your Danish counterparts. Wait patiently until they offer you another appointment. You needn’t worry that they will fail to give you a final answer.

But be aware that, once a decision has been made, it will not be carved in stone. It can be renegotiated if things change or new insights are gained. It is therefore advisable to regularly ensure that all parties involved are on the same page.

Katrin Koll Prakoonwit

+49 (0)711 722 468 44
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