Finland: Less is definitely more!
Finland is very much a country of paradoxes. It is Nordic and yet not Scandinavian (its language is totally unrelated to Swedish, Norwegian or Danish). Finland is heavily dependent on traditional industries such as pulp and paper but, at the same time, is at the leading edge in many hi-tech sectors. The people of the country are notoriously limited communicators but very proficient in foreign languages. Finnish history is that of triumph over adversity. Triumph over the climate, triumph over more powerful, wealthier neighbours and more latterly triumphs in many international niche markets. This fortitude makes the Finn a very strong and able business person. Do not underestimate the Finns.
Meetings are seen as essential for the sharing of information, as individuals like to be allowed to get on with their tasks in isolation, a forum is needed for the sharing of knowledge gained and progress made. Meetings can seem strange affairs to people not familiar with Finland or the Finns – long but quiet. People will be well prepared, as you are not expected to speak unless you have something concrete to contribute. It is definitely true to say that, in Finland, the quality of your intervention is of much greater significance than the quantity. Less is very definitely more! In negotiation situations, cultivate your own level of comfort in silence otherwise you can find yourself giving away more than was originally intended.
Finns view overt enthusiasm and hyperbole with suspicion and it is better to understate your case than to overstate it. Your actions and words are the basis upon which your worth will be measured. Finns will weigh you up over a period of time, but once they have decided in your favour, you have a relationship for life.
Share your experiences of doing business in Finland.