>> French Business Meeting Etiquette

As management style tends towards the directive, meetings can often be more for the dissemination of information of decisions previously arrived at than for the open debate of perceived difficulties.

They will often be chaired by the boss and follow a set agenda as determined by the boss. In such formal meetings it would be rare to contradict the boss openly – this will have been done elsewhere, prior to the meeting in more informal lobbying sessions. If meetings sometimes appear to be a rubber-stamping exercise, it is because that is what they often are. In such an environment, it is vital to be actively involved in the pre-meeting lobbying if any influence at all is to be brought to bear.

Meetings, which take place between peers and without the presence of a more senior figure, will be much more open and less rigid. Open debate will often be seen in such situations and this debate can often become heated – especially when people are defending the validity of their own cherished logic. In such meetings, strong confrontations can often occur which reflect the sense of competition often found just below the surface at peer group levels in large organisations.

Cartesian logic is at the heart of French thinking and this process introduces the thesis – counter-thesis approach where adversarial debate around a topic is seen as very healthy. This can be seen as disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing through the eyes of more consensus-minded cultures.

Latest version updated:: 23rd March 2017

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