The networking etiquette in Oslo

networking etiquette
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Updated 2019-10-08 15:19

From deciding what to wear and choosing a topic of conversation, there are clear dos and don'ts when it comes to networking etiquette in Norway and particularly in the capital city of Oslo. Here are some tips on how to network in Oslo, whether you plan to expand your professional network or your social network.

Greeting people in Oslo

In Norway, people generally meet new acquaintances with a firm handshake and a brief introduction. Work colleagues and friends simply greet each other with a quick ‘hei' or ‘god morgen' (hey/good morning) when they arrive at work, and a simple ‘snakkes' or ‘ha det bra' (talk again soon/goodbye) when they depart for home.

Topics of conversation in Oslo

Norwegians are not known for idle talk, even amongst their fellow countrymen. People tend to talk in a straightforward manner and avoid personal questions; privacy is highly valued among the ‘nordmenn' (a common phrase translating to ‘North men' that Norwegians use to refer to themselves).

Acceptable topics of conversation for the workplace include the weather, sports (especially in wintertime, when Norway competes against nearby neighbours Sweden and Denmark in skiing!) and maybe holiday plans if you are on more familiar terms with your colleagues. Politics and subjective views are not deemed appropriate for workplace conversation.

Dress code in Oslo

Sophisticated but understated and conservative is a good way to go when it comes to workplace dress code in Oslo unless you work in finance, law, or a similar field – these areas might require a full suit that fits the occasion of closing a high-end business deal.

Retail jobs will often provide uniforms, while employees with office jobs that require minimal customer contact can get away with good quality slacks and a t-shirt. In some offices, employees even remove their shoes and slip on more comfortable indoor slippers.

Dress appropriately for interviews and your first few days on the job to scope out the vibe and see what other employees wear to work.

Work-life balance in Oslo

Oslo is one of the best cities for workers who value a good work-life balance. Working hours are often flexible so that workers can leave around 3 pm to pick up their children from kindergarten and school.

Norway also boasts some of the best parental leave benefits when it comes to child-rearing. Since nannies are a rare phenomenon in the country, it is not uncommon for employees to work from home when their children are sick

Expats from fast-paced countries will need to adjust to the more relaxed work pace that often prioritizes family situations over deadlines. If your plans for networking fall through due to a family situation, be patient and simply ask to reschedule – things will work out in the long run.

Networking in Oslo

Since Norwegians are not very talkative, it is helpful to have a few topics of conversation ready when you attend networking events. Business cards are not common; have your LinkedIn mobile app ready to go so you can simply add people as you work your way around the room.

 Good to know:

Expats find it challenging to adapt to the strange Norwegian culture. Consider buying a comically truthful guide about the local culture in Norway to prepare yourself.

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