Speaking to a Nordic audience? This Are Your Do`s and Dont`s…
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds
Every audience is different, especially when you are speaking international.
Speaking to a Nordic audience can be a challenge, especially if you have never done it before. These are the lessons you don’t have to learn the hard way, if you read this post.
1) We don’t ask questions in public
Meeting with a Nordic audience for the first time, you will be surprised of the silence in the audience. No-one will ask you any questions, except the daredevil raising his hand when it is all over. This is usually an American visiting Norway, or maybe a person from Denmark. Swedes and Norwegians will always keep their questions to themselves and maybe tweet it or send you an email later.
2) We don’t answer questions in public either
If you have the nerve to ask us something and to wait for an answer, we will meet your question with a long awkward silence. In other words, don´t base your presentation around audience Q&A.
3) …or raise our hand on direct questions
Even raising our hands on direct yes/no questions is not something we do. “How many people here have ever used the Internet?” = “Awkward silence and no hands in the air”.
Don’t expect any response from a Nordic audience, we like to sit, take notes and concentrate, not answer or ask anything to anyone.
4) We don’t mingle
Sometimes the speakers are expected to mingle with the audience after the presentation. Don’t expect any response here either. Exception: If alcohol is served, the ones with the most red-wine coloured teeth will maybe ask you a question or two. Or maybe tell you how the world works. Because…
5) … alcohol makes the Norseman do strange things. Even speak in public!
A Norwegian saying is “når ølet går inn går vettet ut”. Directly translated: When the beer goes in, the sanity goes out. Expect this to be true. Our drinking-culture is quite different from the rest of Europe (and the world). Most Nordics rarely drink anything but when we do, we do it big time. After all we are direct descendants of the Vikings. If alcohol is served at the afterparty, bring your video camera and expect many great stories to bring home.
To summarize: Don’t expect a Nordic audience to participate in any way, not even in raising our hand. Expect to mingle by yourself. And bring your video camera to the after party.
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