Doing business in Iceland
Meeting and greeting
The handshake and eye contact You should ensure that you shake hands with all meeting attendees. Ensure that this is coupled with good eye contact and that your handshake is firm. Dressing style
Individuals in Iceland take great care over their appearance and it is certainly expected that you should dress smartly for any formal occasion when doing business in Iceland.
Icelanders generally are direct in
their speech. Expect this and do not take it offensively if none is intended. Although Danish is the most
common second language for Icelanders, many also speak English. If business presentations are given,
they should be to the point.
Understanding Icelandic names is important for
business and social occasions.
Most people have a patronymic, formed from their father’s first name with the ending ‘-son’ or ‘-dottir’ (e.g. Eythor Jonsson (son of Jon) or Eyrun Jonsdottir (daughter of Jon). A woman does not take her husband’s name on marriage.
Icelanders use the 24-hour clock in order to avoid misunderstandings. Normal business hours are Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700, although many firms close an hour earlier in the summer. Make appointments for May through September well in advance because many Icelandic business people travel abroad during these months. Icelandic businesses often close for a three-week break during July, the holiday month. Icelanders value punctuality. Notify the host if you are going to be late.
The Icelandic Personality
Since Iceland is a small community, access to key people is easy and often informal. Generally, Icelanders can be quite reserved during business hours, although they tend to loosen up on Friday and Saturday nights. Often they invite visitors to their homes, and the thoughtful guest will bring a gift for the host. Although Icelanders have...