Perhaps you have sometimes felt that business partners from other parts of the world seem to ignore you as you try to argue for your idea. If you are Swedish it is likely that you will be regarded as somewhat weak and even neutral, not convincing enough, so therefore I have chosen to add this little Toolbox that can help you as you are out in the world.
If you on the other hand belong to a more Direct or Affective culture you could also learn from this toolbox since it will enable you to speak in a manner that is not condidered too rough for your Swedish business partners. Instead of using the verb ”will” it is better to use ”modals” in Sweden, ”It might be a good idea to…”.
It is also good for you to remember that Swedish people do not appreciate being interrupted and they are interested in everybody´s opinion before they make a decison. Yes, yes, that means it may take some time to reach a decision but when it is finished it is OK. There are more things to know about Swedish people and an easy, quite funny way to learn more is to read the small books witten by an Englishman, Colin P. Moon.
He gives you his view on the Swedish business culture in his book email@example.com which I warmly recommend. For Swedish people it is important since it brings us outside the box looking at ourselves and for other cultures it is helpful since the book provides important information about the Swedish business culture, for instance the fika-pauses that take place ever so often. What is Fika??? A cup of coffee and a chance to small-talk with your colleagues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFSdQn0YabA
Regardless of the culture it is preferable to avoid negative words. Learn to say ”challenge” instead of ”problem”, point to a solution rather than obstacles on the way to the solution.
Cultural Differences are just like an Iceberg. 80 % of the differences are hidden under the surface so we don´t know America just because we have been there or seen the Hollywood version of the country but it is easy, very easy to assume we know Britain, America, Spain, France or why not Norway and Denmark.
Therefore, I really encourage you all to do your utmost to learn more about a country and its culture in advance to facilitate your business abroad.
Try to adapt and follow the old device: “When in Rome do as the Romans do”
So why not learn some Swedish before you go… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpHniCEHY7I (N.B. This last part is just for fun!!)