It is important to be punctual in Sweden. You should never be late, as it will impact on you on a very bad way, if you will be late even once. But if turns out that you will be late, it is very important to call Swedish counterparts and explain the reason.
In Sweden the people always try to find a work-life balance; therefore they try to manage their time very carefully. They normally put a lot of effort to meet the deadlines, but don’t assume that they work over hours. They are not such a results-driven culture. They value their free time, and always try to have long weekends and relax.
Keep in mind that Swedes appreciate someone who comes to them with experience and knowledge. I can say that they are extremely detail-orientated and everything you prepare should be accurately planned and logically organized. Very rarely a decision is made at the initial meeting.
Usually, at this stage, they will be evaluating you, your proposal and your company. You will have various meetings before all the details are cleared and questions are answered.
There are main 3 steps when proceeding with a meeting in Sweden:
1 Planning a meeting
- Send a request to a meeting two weeks in advance at least
- The best time for an appointment is between 9am and 10am or in the afternoon between 2pm and 4pm
- Expect the meeting to start and finish on time
- There won’t be any small talk, the meetings will just go right to the point
- Check the calendar, and try to not arrange a meeting during summer months and the month of February
2 Negotiation process
- Be very well prepared for your presentation, because they are well-known for analyzing information
- Provide lots of information in writing as well
- The subject of the meeting will be discussed in detail
- Do not be emotional when negotiating with Swedes, because you will create a bad impression
- Be honest and make all agreements in written form, they will appreciate it
3 After the meeting
- Send an e-mail regarding the points that have been discussed and decided using a to-do list
- Send an e-mail to all participants
- Swedes work individually and will deliver the task as soon as it will be accomplished
- Follow up the items and meet deadlines in order to build credibility
- Try to avoid open confrontation or disagreements
As a conclusion, I would suggest that you learn some facts about Sweden before you go there. Swedes are very proud of their country, so do not criticize the Swedish life style. On the other hand, do not make lots of compliments either; as they may consider it as not being sincere.
Do you want to know how to run meetings and projects in North American and European cultures, Latin and Arab cultures and Asian cultures?
Click on the link below to see a video about time perception:
3 Perceptions of Time That Can Make or Break Your Project
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