About Norway• Norway is a Scandinavian country that lies to the north of continental Europe on the western seaboard. It has a border to the east with Sweden, but also has a shorter border in the north with Finland and another in the far north with Russia. Norway also has administrative responsibility for the territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen and asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica [Queen Maud Land and its continental shelf.]There are three official languages in Norway – Bokmål and Nynorsk are used throughout Norway and Sami is found in the north. However, most Norwegians also speak some English and many speak excellent English.
Business Dressing• Business attire is somewhat casual by European standards.• Men should wear dark colored, conservative business suits to meetings.• Women should wear well tailored dresses or trouser suits / pants suits [especially for the first meeting].• Many companies have a smart, but casual, dress code similar to European standards.• Once you know the dress culture of the company, you may be able to modify your clothing.• Jewelry and accessories should be kept to a minimum and always be understated.• Shoes should be highly polished.
How to Communicate• CONVERSATION• General Guidelines• Do not ask personal questions or be offended if Norwegians do not inquire about your family, work, and so forth.• Try to avoid opening a conversation with “So, what do you do?” This is considered far too personal a question in Norway, and one’s job is often not the most interesting topic of conversation.• Norwegians accept silence with ease, so it would be a mistake hurriedly to fill in pauses in the conversation.• Scandinavians appreciate it if you can demonstrate a knowledge of the differences between the people of Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark .
First Name or Title• Norwegians introduce themselves with their first name followed by their surname.• Many Norwegians have a double first name and both are used as a single name. Listen carefully when they introduce themselves. They may use both, but do not shorten their names. For example, Per Erik Larssen is ‘Per Erik’ when you move to first name terms, not ‘Per’.• For business purposes, Norwegians sometimes introduce themselves by title if expected to do so .• Elderly people expect a more formal tone. Address an elderly lady whom you do not know well using her formal title: Fru Olsen, for example.
Gift Giving• If invited to a Norwegians home, take a small gift for the hostess - flowers, chocolates or pastries, wine, or imported spirits are much appreciated.• Flowers may be sent the morning of a dinner party so they can be put out that evening.• Do not give carnations, lilies or white flowers as they are used at funerals.• Do not give wreaths, even at Christmas.• Do not give even numbers of flowers.
Let’s make a deal• Most Norwegians speak some English, and many speak excellent English. In multinationals English may even be the working language. It is not necessary to have your business cards translated. Remember, however, that English is a second language in Norway, so be prepared to modify your language if necessary. Outside the office / professional environment expect less proficiency and that many people are less comfortable when speaking English.• Meetings usually start with introductions, either before the meeting or around the table at the start. Listen carefully. Norwegians introduce themselves with their full name, surname last. However, many Norwegians have two given names – both are used as a ‘first’ name [Lars Peter, Anne Kirstin.] It is impolite to shorten the name to just the first of the two. When you introduce yourself, or a colleague, use the first name you use yourself.
Favorable Entertaining• In hotels, etc. breakfast is served from around 07:00 to around 10:00 and can be similar to a continental breakfast [bread, rolls, croissant, etc.] or a cooked English breakfast [toast, marmalade, bacon, eggs, etc.] Breakfast cereals are usually available. The normal Norwegian breakfast is bread with slices of cheese, cold meats, preserves, etc. made up into open sandwiches. Coffee, tea, milk and juice are the typical drinks.• Lunch is usually served from 11:00 to 1:00 p.m. Beer or wine seldom accompany lunch, either business or social, in cafes, restaurants, or office cafeterias. Still or carbonated mineral water is usually available, as are milk and fruit juice. Lunch in a restaurant includes a main course or open sandwich with a rich assortment of toppings - such as cold meats, different types of cheese, and vegetables.• Dinner is usually served from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. In Norwegian homes, it is served not usually later than 8:00 p.m.