Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business In Finland - Answers & Video

Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business In Finland

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Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business in Finland

Finland, known for its stunning natural beauty and innovative technology, is a country with a unique business culture. Understanding and respecting Finnish cultural etiquette is crucial when doing business in Finland. This article will provide you with detailed information on various aspects of Finnish business culture to help you navigate successfully in this Nordic country.

Finnish Business Culture

Finland has a distinct business culture characterized by its emphasis on equality, collaboration, and efficiency. Finnish businesspeople are known for their punctuality, direct communication style, and preference for consensus-based decision-making. Building and maintaining strong relationships based on trust and reliability is important in Finnish business culture.

  • Punctuality: Being on time is highly valued in Finnish business culture. Arriving a few minutes early for meetings is considered respectful. If you are running late, it is essential to inform your Finnish counterparts in advance.
  • Direct Communication: Finns appreciate direct and honest communication. They value clarity and transparency in business discussions. It is important to express your opinions clearly and concisely while being respectful and avoiding confrontational language.
  • Consensus Decision-Making: Finns prefer consensus-based decision-making processes. They value input from all team members and aim to reach a collective agreement. It is crucial to listen actively and contribute constructively to discussions.

Business Meetings and Etiquette

Business meetings in Finland follow certain protocols and etiquette. Understanding these practices can help you make a positive impression and build fruitful relationships with Finnish business partners.

  • Appointments: It is customary to schedule appointments in advance. Sending a meeting request via email or making a phone call is the preferred method of arranging meetings. Avoid scheduling meetings during the summer months of July and early August, as many Finns take vacations during this time.
  • Business Attire: Finnish business attire is typically formal and conservative. Men usually wear suits and ties, while women opt for professional attire. It is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed for business meetings.
  • Handshakes: Handshakes are the standard form of greeting in Finnish business culture. Maintain eye contact and offer a firm handshake when meeting someone for the first time. Remember to shake hands with everyone present when entering or leaving a meeting.

Gift Giving and Business Entertaining

Gift giving and business entertaining play a role in Finnish business culture. While not as common as in some other cultures, it is still important to understand the appropriate practices.

  • Gifts: Gift giving in Finnish business culture is not as prevalent, but it is appreciated as a gesture of goodwill. If you choose to give a gift, it should be of good quality, practical, and not overly expensive. Avoid personal or extravagant gifts.
  • Business Entertaining: Finnish business entertaining is often focused on fostering relationships and getting to know colleagues and partners on a personal level. Invitations for business meals or social gatherings may be extended, providing an opportunity to build rapport outside of the office environment.
  • Sauna Culture: Saunas hold a special place in Finnish culture. It is common for business meetings to be followed by a sauna session. If invited to a sauna, it is advisable to accept the invitation as it presents an opportunity for informal networking and relationship building.

Business Negotiations

Negotiating in Finland requires a respectful and patient approach. Finns value fairness and equality in business dealings and appreciate a cooperative negotiation style.

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Prior to negotiations, ensure you have conducted extensive research and gathered relevant data. Finns appreciate well-prepared and fact-based arguments.
  • Be Patient: Finnish business negotiations may take time, as decisions are often reached through consensus. Avoid rushing the process and be patient throughout the negotiation process.
  • Respect Hierarchy: While Finland is known for its egalitarian society, hierarchical structures still exist in the business world. It is important to respect seniority and decision-making authority within organizations.


Doing business in Finland requires a deep understanding of the country’s unique cultural etiquette. By respecting Finnish business culture, practicing punctuality, direct communication, and consensus-based decision-making, you can foster successful business relationships in this Nordic nation.

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