Tip #4– Essentials: 10 key tips to doing business in …… France

1. Always respect the individuality of the French. Never try to put them into categories, or make generalisations about them.
2. Never try to impose your own cultural values on the French as you will only create resistance.
3. Remember that this is a polite, formal society. Greetings, small talk and etiquette are essential.
4. Relationships are critical to getting things done. Network and use contacts where you can to navigate through bureaucratic levels.
5. Do not be afraid to debate a point in what may seem like a heated, intense discussion. Provided you can back it up, you will be respected for your intellectual grasp.
6. Learn to conduct meetings the French way, with plenty of debate and a chance for everybody to have their say. The French can appear direct because they are not afraid of asking probing questions. Don't be frustrated by what can seem to be an inconclusive result.
7. Avoid making exaggerated claims about your company or your products. They will not be appreciated.
8. Recognise that French business is hierarchical. Information may not flow between levels and decisions will tend to be made at the top.
9. Be aware that the French tend to be most receptive to low-key, but logical presentations that fully explain the position(s) taken.
10. Start learning French as it demonstrates an interest in developing a long-term relationship.




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Executive Traveller 2003