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Business etiquette

French Culture, Customs and Etiquette

❶Have the other side of your business card translated into French.

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If you are interviewing in France, you will be remembered if you present to the interviewer your personal business card. If you attend networking events, you will always look organised if you use a professional business card case. Just make sure there is enough room for both your cards and for the cards that you will receive. The French business lunch is an experience: Be ready for a style of dining that is formal and long.

A very important rule in French dining etiquette is to keep your hands resting on the table, never in your lap. If wine is being served, remember the more you empty your glass, the more it will be topped up. If you've had enough wine, simply leave some resting in your glass. Business conversation generally starts after the dessert is served and it is up to the host to initiate it. Generally, French business people do not plan meetings on short notice. If you are asked to attend a meeting, expect it to be scheduled in about two weeks time.

Similarly, if you want to invite somebody to a meeting you should aim to schedule it at least two weeks in advance. Not enough notice will make the other person feel pressured.

French business people do not like to be pressured into making quick decisions. Aggressive selling techniques won't work. If you are in a business meeting, be patient and expect a lot of discussion and exchange of information. Decisions are generally not made on the first meeting. They are made after many detailed discussions and by somebody at the top. It is not frowned upon in France to ask a lot of questions and to interrupt somebody before they have finished.

It is a common French conversation style. In other countries, interrupting may be inappropriate but in France it is simply a way to express your interest in the other person and the conversation.

If you are being interrupted, take it initially as a positive sign that they like what you're saying. Reciprocally, if you want to show your interest, don't be afraid to interrupt and finish other people's sentences, too.

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette consultant living in France. Australian born, she spent most of the last 10 years living in Japan working in finance, and some time in New York. She created Executive Impressions , where she guides professionals and companies through international business situations. If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know.

Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page. A guide to French etiquette and manners.

Making a dream come true. Writing a French CV and interview t Discover how to save time and money, by managing your finances and overseas transactions with ease. Join the event for pursuing an international career in the Netherlands, featuring a range of employers and presentations. Address others using Monsieur or Madame Formality is highly regarded in France. Introduce yourself using your first and last name In a French business context, introductions are always made using both your first and last name.

Use a brisk, light handshake French-style handshakes are known to be brisk and light. Learn French gestures The French are just as famous for their gestures as they are for les bises greeting kisses on the cheeks.

Wear quality business attire, even if it's Friday First impressions in France are heavily dependent on appearance. Have one side of your business card in French It always shows respect and courtesy for the other person when you have one side of your business card printed in French and the other in your native language.

Keep your hands on the table at lunch The French business lunch is an experience: Make business meetings two weeks in advance Generally, French business people do not plan meetings on short notice. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics French business people do not like to be pressured into making quick decisions. Expect probing questions and interruptions It is not frowned upon in France to ask a lot of questions and to interrupt somebody before they have finished.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here. Gifts tend to be opened on receipt rather than being set aside to be opened later. France is renowned as a leading hub of fashion. Indeed, Paris is home to many renowned fashion designers including Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, amongst many others. French business attire is stylish and understated: Women can also wear business suits or formal dresses in soft colours.

First impressions are largely influenced by appearance. Accessories should be of high quality. Freedom of religion is a very important concept in France: Christianity is the largest religion in France, however the next largest group in French society is those who profess to have no religion.

There are high levels of formality involved with doing business in France. Handshakes tend to be brisk and light, with only a couple of up and down movements. Appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance, in writing, by telephone, or by email.

A secretary will often handle appointment making for senior individuals. You should telephone immediately if you expect to be delayed to a meeting. Attention to detail is vital. Business cards are exchanged after initial greetings, and whilst it is not a necessity to translate a business card into French, doing so is seen as being attentive.

Include advanced academic qualifications on business cards: In France, it is important to keep professional life and private life separate. There may be small talk at the beginning of meetings, however this should remain professional, avoiding questions about the personal lives of others. The process of negotiation and sales in France is often conducted slowly. Business is conducted on a hierarchical basis and decisions tend to be made by more senior officials in companies. You should expect there to be a lot of questions asked about any proposals, as decision making is often meticulous, rather than being off the back of high pressure sales tactics.

Accordingly such tactics should be avoided. Meetings are very important when leading to final decisions being made; however, it is very rare that decisions will be made at meetings. Once a decision has eventually been made, a comprehensive contract will likely be drawn up. Hierarchical structures are a prominent feature of business in France. Often, senior staff, such as general managers, will have secretaries who deal with other employees. It is possible to work upwards through the hierarchy of a business to become a manager but this is a rarer route.

The formulation and implementation of rational decisions are seen as more important than motivating staff, for example. Despite the hierarchical structure in French businesses, successful management is dependent on relationships with colleagues. It is important to remember that business relationships in France are kept strictly professional. Discussions can often feature debates and it is important to clearly explain your point. Well thought out rebuttals to opposing points of view are appreciated, as are well-structured and considered debates.

France is a founding member of the European Union, and as such relocating to the country from other countries within the EU is relatively straight-forward.

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French business etiquette dictates that you do not include your business card with a gift. Never send a gift for a French colleague to his/her home unless it is related to a social event. Card giving at holidays is appropriate and appreciated.

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Learn about French business culture by reading about xenophobia, cultural taboos, educational standards and other issues such as transport infrastructure.

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Does your job or business require you to deal with French people? Or are you travelling to France for business anytime soon? Want to know French business etiquette to avoid any mistakes? Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur who isPlanning to relocate to France for a new job or businessTaking a short business trip to France or getting assigned there for a while; orNegotiating a .