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Monday, August 16, 2010

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: France

France: Etiquette and Manners
  • French is the official language of France. It is the first language of 88% of the population.
  • If you do not speak French, apologize; yet learning a few commonly used phrases in French language will be appreciated and it may be useful in developing a relationship, mutual trust and respect which will go a long way in your personal and business dealings in France.
  • French people are private people. And they are generally polite in all their dealings.
  • Make appointments for the business meetings. Fix up your appointments at least 2 weeks in advance. Appointments may be made in writing or by telephone; they are often handled by the secretaries.
  • Preferably avoid planning your business meetings during July and August, these being general vacation months.
  • Your dress for the business meetings should be understated; yet stylish.
  • Men should wear dark colored, conservative business suit for first few meetings. Later on, choose your business dress by observations of the culture of the organization with which you are doing business.
  • Women should wear either business suit or dress elegantly in soft colors.
  • Wearing good quality accessories will be appreciated since French people are believed to generally like the finer aspects of life.
  • Be punctual for the meetings. If you are likely to be late inadvertently, inform about it to your host organization over the phone and give convincing reason.
  • Handshake is an accepted form of exchanging greetings.
  • Exchange the business cards after introductions without any formal ritual. French business cards are often a bit larger as compared to those used in other countries.
  • It will be appreciated if on other side of your business card you print your details in French though it is not essential.
  • You may include your advanced academic degrees, if any, on your business card.
  • You may expect a bit of formal business environment in meetings. Courtesy is expected in dealings. Address the people in a formal way and do not use first names unless invited to do so.
  • Sit as per the seating plan; you may be to be told where to sit.
  • Do not exaggerate and do not mislead by giving any false information. Also do not lean on confrontational behavior or over-selling or aggressive tactics. These things may go against you with French people.
  • They will appreciate a high quality professional presentation that convinces about the benefits from your proposal.
  • Maintain eye contact while making your business presentation.
  • Do not be overzealous to be unduly friendly; it may not be seen as correct.
  • Generally meetings are used for discussions. Often, decisions may not emerge in the meetings.
  • Pace of the business in meetings may appear to be slow. French people like to go in depth of the business matters involving detailed analysis.
  • French people adhere to protocol and hierarchy. Decisions are normally made by the top management of the company.
  • Business agreements are formalized in the form of a comprehensive and precise contract.
  • When invited for dinner by your business associate or friend to their homes, be punctual. In case you expect to reach late (which should not be more than say, 10 odd minutes), telephone the host about it with reason for being late.
  • Bring flowers or high quality wine for the host as gift.
  • If invited to a large dinner party, especially in Paris, send flowers well in advance say, the morning of the party so that they may be displayed that evening.
  • Dress impeccably. Do not wear a casual dress. French people are normally fashion conscious.
  • Greet with a handshake though among friends French people may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks.
  • Do not address the people attending the dinner by their first names as they are reserved for family and close friends. You may use the first name if the person invites you to do so.
  • You may be directed to a particular seat as per the seating plan. Sit accordingly.
  • Start eating only after the hostess announces “bon app├ętit”.
  • Follow continental table manners. (Refer: Dining Etiquette and Table Manners
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table.
  • Finish everything on your plate. If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife. Leave your wineglass nearly full if you do not want more.
  • If you live in an apartment building, greet your neighbors when you happen to see them or meet them.
  • Use French greetings “bonjour” or “bonsoir” (good morning or good evening) with the title “Monsieur” or “Madame” when entering a shop and "au revoir" (good bye) when leaving.
(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, for dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

Books Suggested for your Professional, Organization's and Personal Library (all the titles below are available online from Amazon in paperbacks and as eBooks)

Business Management, Life Management, Self-help, Personality Development
  1. HSoftware (Human Software) (The Only Key to Higher Effectiveness) 
  2. Sensitive Stories of Corporate World (Management Case Studies) 
  3. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers 
  4. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  5. Classic Team Building Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  6. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (available only as a paperback)
  7. Stress? No Way!! (Handbook on Stress Management) 
  8. HSoftware (Shyam Bhatawdekar’s Effectiveness Model) 
  9. Competency Management (Competency Matrix and Competencies) 
  10. Essentials of Work Study (Method Study and Work Measurement) 
  11. Essentials of Time Management (Taking Control of Your Life) 
  12. Essentials of 5S Housekeeping 
  13. Essentials of Quality Circles 
  14. Essentials of Goal Setting 
  15. Essentials of Anger Management 
  16. Essentials of Assertive Behavior
  17. Essentials of Performance Management and Performance Appraisal
  18. Essentials of Effective Communication (soon to be published)
  19. Health Essentials (Health is Wealth)
  20. Soft Skills You Can't Do Without (Goal Setting, Time Management, Assertiveness and Anger Management)
  21. The Romance of Intimacy (How to Enhance Intimacy in a Relationship?) 
Novels, Short Stories, Biographies and Travelogues
  1. Good People (Dream of a Boundary Less World)- Novel, a refreshingly different love story (Also available under the title Love Knows No Bounds) 
  2. The Peace Crusaders- a most intriguing novel
  3. Two Novels in One Book (The Peace Crusaders and Love Knows No Bounds)
  4. Funny (and Not So Funny) Short Stories 
  5. Stories Children Will Love (Volume 1: Bhanu-Shanu-Kaju-Biju and Dholu Ram Gadbad Singh) 
  6. My Father
  7. Travelogue: Scandinavia, Russia
  8. Travelogue: Europe 

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