Presentations finns

When giving a company presentation, there is a vast difference between the American/Anglo-Saxon and Finnish styles. (Apologies to those of other cultures—I make the comparison with the US/A-S style as this is generally accepted in business circles as the norm, a world full of spin-doctors and hype.). This section on presentations may be of value to note: the Finns are very much into structure and facts.

They like to tell you exactly where they are located in Finland, even showing you a picture of their factory on a map; show you an organisation chart (probably with lots of names on it); give you a lot of financial details and tell you how they have grown year-on-year in figures not percentages; and generally put in their PowerPoint a lot of information and numbers.

They will inform you of the quality of their goods, tell you about the good design and you will learn that everything incorporates the latest technology. You will also learn that everyone in their business works 35 hours a week and has six weeks holiday a year—implying that not only is the product of quality but their work practices too!

The purpose of their presentations is to give you information and educate you. All this will be delivered in a calm and quiet fashion by an expert. You will be given sufficient information to draw the conclusion for yourself that the product/service is ‘the best thing since sliced bread» and you can then make your decision whether to buy. You will rarely hear any stories, and no one promotes the benefits of using their product or service. The delivery is very «black and white» and unemotional.

Therefore, many Finns tend to find US/A-S style presentations lacking in substance because we tend to heavily feature the benefits of buying from our company, illustrate with stories, wring emotions and bounce energetically around the room—very unlike a quiet Finnish expert. All this is confusing for the Finn and makes us foreigners seem very untrustworthy. Unfortunately, the non-plussed, silent response we receive from a Finnish audience is usually misinterpreted by the presenter as lack of interest, and the greater will be the effort to stir up emotion (or even a response). Wrong move! The Finns are uncomfortable with any emotional outbursts and are just waiting for you to give them some straight facts with which to make a decision!