miðvikudagur, febrúar 15, 2006

client meeting

For some reason, I am always very nervous before Icelandic client meetings. Well, I know the reason, actually, and that is the language. It's hard to be on top of your game when you feel like you're playing with less than a full deck, or whatever mixed metaphor you want to choose.

But if experience is any guide, I have nothing to fear from Icelandic client meetings. The hard-edged hard-hitting ways of my old New York clients would come off as painfully abrasive here. In Iceland when you come to a client site, the first thing they do is take your coat. Then they usher you into the kitchen and make you a fresh cup of coffee from the shiny coffee machine that every Icelandic company seems to possess. Then they show you into an office or conference room with a "gjörðu svo vel", holding the door so you can go first. Then and only then, cup of fresh coffee in hand and seated in a comfortable space, do people get down to business.

In today's case, things were even better because as soon as we stood up to meet our clients in the reception area, my coworker K and the client exchanged a startled/happy "Hæ!". It turns out they are old friends from elementary school in Akureyri in the north of Iceland, but hadn't seen each other for years until this very morning. It was like a reunion. Everything was fine from there: we were ushered into a comfortable office, coffees in hand, early-morning Icelandic sky peeping through the blinds, and the three of us talked through their problems and questions and ideas like old friends.

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