Business in France offers many possibilities. France is a highly developed country and one of the largest economies in the world. Although French are proud of their country and independence, they are increasingly associated with Europe. Many international investors find their way to the French market. However, they must take into account some peculiarities. To help you with your first steps and in the French business world, we have put together five
The French language is an important part of French culture. Despite the fact that most French, and certainly French young people, understand English, it is important that you try to speak French for the success of your business contact. This is more important to French than to master the language completely. If you do not speak French enough to conduct a conversation, please apologize. For example, you can say: “Excusez-moi de vous deranger, mais je ne parle pas bien le francais” (“Sorry to interrupt you, but I do not speak French very well.”). This shows that you have respect for the French culture. This is highly appreciated and you will be forgiven small mistakes – which you will undoubtedly make.
The French like to discuss and talk especially about food and French cuisine. In addition, art, philosophy, sport and the history of France are important topics of discussion. It is advisable to only give your opinion on topics that you have a high level of knowledge of, and it is always expected of you to support and defend your views. Starting a conversation about Napoleon is a risk: this is a very sensitive subject. The French see him as part of their culture and pride, and are not happy to criticize it.
The French business etiquette has a number of differences compared to the Dutch. The most important are the following:
It is not accepted to accept anyone without his or her consent with the informal “tu” (you). Therefore, always use the formal “vous” (u) until your business partner gives you permission to use “tu”. When you meet someone for the first time, speak to him / her with “Monsieur” or “Madame”. Avoid “Mademoiselle”, this is only used to address waitresses.