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French Business Etiquette: 7 Tips for Success

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is becoming more important than ever before. For businesses looking to expand into international markets, having an understanding of the customs and etiquette of the target country is essential for building successful relationships and securing deals.

France is a major player in the global economy, and many companies seek to do business with French firms. However, the French have a unique business culture, and it is important to understand their customs and etiquette in order to succeed in the French market.

Are you interested in conducting business with the French? Do you plan on working in France?

Here are our top 7 tips for navigating French business culture and etiquette!


1. Learn the Language

This seems obvious, but while many French business people speak English, it is important to learn some French to demonstrate respect for the culture and show a willingness to adapt to local customs. This can also help you build stronger relationships with your French partners.


2. Dress Professionally

The French take pride in their appearance and dress well for business meetings. Dressing professionally shows that you take the meeting seriously and respect the people you are meeting with. Avoid casual clothing such as jeans or sneakers.


3. Punctuality

In France, punctuality is important, and it is considered rude to be late for a business meeting. Arrive on time or a few minutes early to show that you respect the other person’s time.


4. Greetings

In French business culture, it is customary to greet each person individually with a handshake, and it is polite to use their title or surname when addressing them. If you are unsure how to pronounce their name correctly, ask them for clarification.


5. Business Cards

Business cards are an important part of French business culture, and it is customary to exchange cards at the beginning of a meeting. Make sure to have your cards printed in both English and French, and present them with both hands and with the French side facing up.


6. Communication

French communication tends to be more formal and indirect than in other cultures, so it is important to be aware of this and adjust your communication style accordingly. Avoid being too direct or confrontational, as this can be seen as impolite.


7. Wine

In France, wine is a significant part of the culture and is often served at business meetings or meals. If you are invited to a business meal, it is polite to accept and to drink the wine that is offered to you. If you do not drink alcohol, it is important to inform your host in advance.


In conclusion, understanding French business culture and etiquette is crucial for success in the French market. By learning the language, dressing professionally, being punctual, using proper greetings, exchanging business cards, adjusting your communication style, and being respectful of local customs such as drinking wine, you can build strong relationships and succeed in the French market.


Are you interested in learning French for Business?

Discover our services for professionals or contact l’Atelier An Phu in Ho Chi Minh City to get you started!


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