Nordic companies establishing their branches in Poland frequently have to face communication problems in international teams. Universal corporate values, highest professional skills and good will on both sides do not always build an integrated and effective team. Hence an increasing need for cross-cultural trainings allowing for building a common ground for interpersonal contacts.
However trivial it may seem, the best example of a difference and the most common obstacle in communication is simply the way we speak – slow, calm, relaxed and reflectional „Nordic sound” is often confronted with fast, loud and interruptive nature of Polish way of !SAYING! things. Slavic spontaneity, chaos and fire meets the distance, calmness and cool of the North. For example, silence can be a normal element of conversation between Finns. In Poland, silence means that something is wrong and it needs to be quickly filled up with a panic wave of new suggestions, ideas or questions. All in all, both sides may have common goal and intentions but in one-to-one communication they might frequently feel uncomfortable and intimidated either by the interlocutor’s apparent coldness or his/her verbal invasion. The communication however does not have to be a clash of the opposite elements if we learn how and why we are different. Still, the experience should not be about realizing what distant planets we live on. Both sides should focus on how we perceive the same issues, how we feel and express analogous notions in ordinary daily and professional situations. The international teams do not need to speak one language to work together. Understanding is enough.
The parties need just a little bit of knowledge to overcome anxieties and stereotypes. It does not take much to to able to discover and appreciate the richness, nature and origin of our identities, values and emotions. The communication will follow. Therefore, the cross-cultural competences seem to be one of key requirements from managers creating and coordinating Polish-Nordic work teams.
Over 10 years of experience in the field of Polish – Nordic business contacts have allowed Rynek Nordycki to build a vast knowledge on the nature of good communication between the two cultures. We have gathered a number of examples, comparisons, anecdotes and case studies showing what to do to make it work. We are very happy to have been able to share our experience during a number of trainings and lectures for international corporations and state institutions willing to build effective contacts with their Nordic partners. Sometimes it is all about realizing the trivial, mostly it is all about understanding how beautifully different we are.