1. Bring candy when you travel
Norwegians love candy in general. You will notice when you get to Oslo Airport that it is one of the biggest isles at the Duty Free, right next to alcohol and tobacco. Birthdays, farewell gatherings and holiday come-backs are a blessing for those painfully keeping themselves away from sweets until Friday. You can take it out during coffee break if this is a tradition in your company or you can just put it in a bowl where people can help themselves (not too far from your desk so that you can say YES when they ask who brought it!) Candy + coffee break = friends!
2. Bring ice cream to the office in summer
Whether it’s hot or Cold outside, everyone eats ice cream in summer. It stands for indulgence and good weather after a long long winter. I interviewed for a company once where “free all-you-can-eat-ice-cream in summer” was mentioned as one of the benefits (I got the job thank God). In normal companies, most people have to go out and buy their own. Bring some as an afternoon surprise, and I PROMISE YOU it will be highly appreciated 🙂
3. Join a Club
Some companies are more social than others, but most have a couple of Clubs or at the very least informal meetings after work (drinks on pay day for example). Join them! Time and place might not always be convenient for you, but you don’t have to go every time. It’s really worth the trip if you want to meet your colleagues in a different setting than the traditional Christmas and/or summer party. You could even create your own club. Don’t speak Norwegian? No worries! Everybody speaks English! It does not have to be a huge “club” or “group”, 2-3 people is more than ok. I started a Spanish/Norwegian conversation group with a group of colleagues in my previous workplace. We took turns to host and cooked for each other, it was loads of fun!
4. Pop a quiz
It can be one or several questions to the audience, oral or written, at the beginning or at the end of a presentation, and the prize is usually symbolic. This is a well-known trick to get any audience’s attention. If you shape your presentation as a giant Quiz, you can be sure all eyes will be on you. And with the right stare as well: one of interest in what you are talking about! One of my colleagues did it once and I can tell you that even though I had NO IDEA how to answer her questions, the suspense got me! More importantly, I still remember some of the numbers she presented. My advice: keep it short and easy so that many people can win; mix in fun and facts (no sex jokes), and add the inevitable sports question involving a Norwegian athlete; give the answer with the reward as you go, preferably a sweet that is easy to through and catch.
5. Start skiing and tell people about it
It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad. Or actually… it does matter. It’s better if you suck at it. Be specific when you tell your story, try to illustrate how bad the fall was or how high your legs were up in the air. If they pay attention, you did it! If they LOL… man, ask for a raise! Keep trying and ask for advice about technique, location and gear. Bonus tip: ask advice about what kind of wax you should use. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ask them!). Not a skier? Try the Cabin without running water or electricity. Fun stories garanteed! Especially about the logistics of going to the toilet outside.
What’s your way of making friends at work?