Doing Business in France with Typical Dos and Don'ts

Posted by universal translation service on January 1st, 2020

Investing money in business is a risky move but when you are starting a new venture in a foreign country, then it is even riskier. You are in a culture which you know nothing about. You don’t know the language of the people. Anything can go wrong and all your efforts to start anew in a different place will go down the drain. France is a very unique country. It may be known as the place which has the city of love and lights as its capital but it is also a pretty good country for doing business. However, you can’t succeed at that unless you know the right way to run a company in France.

Doing Business in France with Typical Do’s and Don’ts:

You will come across many instances while doing business in France where one wrong move can ruin everything. This is why it is better to be prepared in advance and know which moves to make and which to avoid. If you don’t do the culturally appropriate things while in France, it will be impossible for you to win the hearts of your business partners and employees. Here are the things you should and shouldn’t do when running a company in this European country:

  1. Don’t Try to Speak French if You Don’t Know it:

It is better to stick to saying bonjour and then moving to English then trying to speak French and saying the wrong thing. You shouldn’t think that the French will appreciate your effort and ignore your mistakes. Such a behavior is not appreciated in business settings and the people there prefer that you don’t try to massacre their language if you are not fluent in it. As for all the important documents, you should bring their accurate French translations to assist your partners and employees.

  1. Do the Proper Gestures:

Gestures are very important in France, and they are not limited to kissing on the cheek. There are things that mean a certain way to the French and if you are not familiar with those gestures, misunderstandings can arise. For instance, they are known for their brisk and light handshake. They are not used to the firm handshake which is common in America. You should adapt to their culture and do the light handshake. If you try the American version, they will think you are trying to intimidate them, which is an impression you don’t want to give.

  1. Don’t Dress Casually:

The French take their business attire very seriously. They don’t have any concept of the ‘Casual Friday’. In fact, even if there is a gathering at work where the dress code is mentioned to be casual, it does not mean jeans and a shirt, it refers to the smart casual where you are still in an attire fit for office. Don’t dress for business parties in a casual or colorful way if you want to leave a good impression on your French employees and business partners.

  1. Do Enjoy the Food:

Business lunches are quite common in France and you are going to have to attend them. Research French food so you know beforehand what you should order. The important discussions always start after dessert and you are supposed to initiate them if you are the host. Also keep in mind to place your hands on the table and not on your lap. Above all else, enjoy your food. The more you will love it and talk about it, the better impression you will leave on your partners. This will also prove to be a good way to move conversation slowly to a serious issue.

Working in a new environment can be tricky. There are a lot of things you should keep in your mind when you are operating in a different cultural background than your own. But if you do your research beforehand, you can easily avoid any misunderstandings.

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