Into Swedish Meetings



Sweden is known for its culture of meetings. Even small decisions can require several group discussions. And while this process can sometimes feel tedious and frustrating, it has made Sweden the most egalitarian nation on the planet.


As you adjust to your life at the Swedish workplace, mastering the art of meetings will be necessary. Here are 5 tips that’ll help you better understand this crucial part of the Swedish work culture:


1. Timing is Everything:

Schedules are very important in Sweden. Therefore, you can always assume that your meeting will begin and end at the exact moment it was scheduled for.

It might be unusual for some people coming from different cultures with a more relaxed sense of time, but taking a casual approach to schedules in Sweden won’t be in your best interest. It is considered very rude to be late in Sweden, and it is just as rude to let a meeting run late.


2. Hierarchy Goes Out The Window

In general, there is not much of a hierarchy in the Swedish workplace. While management roles do exist, everyone is expected to lead themselves, and speak up when they have ideas. This is particularly on display in Swedish meetings. In fact, the employment hierarchy is so irrelevant you shouldn’t be surprised to see the CEO brewing coffee!


3. You Are Expected to Talk:

Swedish meetings can be exhausting as everyone is expected to say something. Management legitimately wants to hear your thoughts on what is being discussed, so make sure you speak up whenever opportunities present themselves.


4. Opinions are Frowned Upon:

While your boss will want to hear from you, it’s not exactly your opinion that they are after. Instead, they will simply want to see how you interpret the facts of whatever is being discussed. Pros and cons are very big in Sweden so think in terms of what might go well, and what might go wrong if a certain decision is made. That’s what your boss is hoping to hear from you!


5. It Could Take Awhile

Swedish decisions cannot be made until consensus is reached. In these conversations, no one is forcing their will on the group. Instead, you collectively get together and try to find a decision that will be pleasing to everyone.


Because this is not very easy to accomplish, Swedish meetings will often take place over several days. Most of the time, there will not be a predetermined day that controls when the decision will be reached. Instead, the discussion will go on until the middle ground has been identified.


It is easy to grow frustrated with this process at first, but if you are like most Swedes, you will ultimately find that it helps create the most pleasing conclusions.


Swedish meetings can seem confusing and understanding them can be overwhelming at first. That’s where our online course on YouTube comes in handy!

Check it out. Peers Bridge