Business Culture in France

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Business Culture in France

Image Find out about business culture, protocol, customs and business etiquette in France. Learn about doing successful business in France, marketing, corporate structure, negotiating, establishing connections and finding your partner. Receive latest information on France business organization, manners, building relationship, correspondence and traditions. Get practical tips on meeting protocol, business entertainment, communication, social customs and much more.

Doing Business in France

Image Connections count heavily in this market. Trade shows and official trade promotion missions are good ways to make initial contact. The alternative is to arrange for a formal introduction to potential customers, distributors or partners. Ask your country's embassy to introduce you. Other useful intermediaries are chambers of commerce, trade associations and international banks, law and accounting firms. But don't overlook that golf buddy or neighbor of yours whose company has a big office in Paris! Your letter requesting a meeting should be in flawless business French. As in other hierarchical cultures, it is wise to start at the top. Address the letter to the President/Directeur General and if you are a senior person in your company request a meeting with him. ... » » » MORE

Business Customs and Protocol in France

Image All business dealings in France are much more formal than in the United States. This extends to the use of names. In the US, business people quickly adopt the use of first names. In France, one remains "Mr. Jones" for years. Only if the French counterpart has been to the US and wants to show off how Americanized he has become would he use your first name quickly. It would be terribly bad manners, and it might lose you the contract or the sale, if you slap him on the back, smile broadly, and call him Francois (or Frank). When you greet your counterparts, you shake hands with everyone in the room. It is not acceptable to enter the room, wave, and say -hi folks! - You shake hands when you first meet and when you are saying good-bye at the end of the day. You do not shake hands when you meet for lunch or going back to the office for more meetings - you shake hands only twice in one day. ... » » » MORE

Developing Business Relations in France

Image French management is more hierarchical and more rigid than American management. You don't want to go over your boss's head for any reason whatsoever. You've got to respect the hierarchy in both directions. As a manager, it is expected that you will maintain distance from your employees. You are not expected to be an equal or be friendly. You do not necessarily socialize with your employees outside of work. As a manager and as a leader, you maintain a certain image of formality. The French appreciate when they are asked for input. But there is no need to get consensus on decisions, though they do like to be consulted. In the end, the leader is expected to make decisions. If you are doing a good job, that's great, but you are not going to hear about it. You are expected to do a good job. French managers rarely give positive feedback. But they tend not to be shy about giving negative feedback. That sometimes sounds fairly harsh to Americans. It can be any kind of situation, such as missing a deadline or work done which does not meet expectations. It might sound personal, "I expected more from you" type of rebuke. The French are pretty thick skinned about these kind of things. ... » » » MORE




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