The finnish handshake

The finnish handshake

One of the most important things to remember whilst doing business with a Finn is a good handshake. You will need to shake hands with your Finnish business colleague every time you meet and every time you say goodbye, or until a time comes when you know each other so well that you drop the formalities. However, the important thing to note is that the Finns require you to be shaking hands as you say your name when introducing yourself. If like me, you are a foreigner who is unused to these Finnish names, you may find that your handshake lasts forever. In Britain, our custom is to say our names to each other, then extend our hand for a handshake, and shake our hand whilst saying «How do you do”. In Finland, however, you first extend your hand for a handshake and then say your names. Unfortunately, by the time you have said, «Pardon”, and the person you are meeting has repeated his name, and possibly repeated it for the third time, you have been hanging on to their hand for a long time! This really is not off-putting as long as you know the custom. However, ladies be warned, many Finnish men have a gripping handshake, so it might be advisable to take any big rings off first! Women, on the other hand, tend to have a very weak handshake.

From a foreigner in Finland, Wayne Deer: «Currently I am unemployed and regularly sending job applications to Finnish companies, which requires my CV to be in Finnish. I was recently updating my work history by adding a few recent part-time jobs. I thought I had written «Minä olin pakkaaja» (I was a packer), but accidentally wrote «Minä olin pakastin» (I was a freezer).»