>> French Business Tips

Tip 1
Educational background and intellectual dexterity are important commodities in France.

Tip 2
French government and industry have traditionally had a closer relationship than has been in evidence in many other industrialised nations and this has resulted in many senior civil servants taking senior roles in industry.

Tip 3
Long-term planning has been a central tenet of the French approach for many decades and leads to detailed forward planning by companies.

Tip 4
In keeping with the centralist tendencies apparent in France, most major French companies have their HQ in Paris – where most major decisions will be made.

Tip 5
The CEO (or PDG) of a French company is usually a highly charismatic leader who guides the general direction of the company in an authoritative manner.

Tip 6
French companies tend towards rigid hierarchies with clear upward reporting and decision making lines.

Tip 7
Socialising across hierarchical lines is quite unusual.

Tip 8
Promotion is gained through a combination of seniority, educational achievement and demonstrated competence.

Tip 9
Management style is often directive with instructions being given to subordinates in information style meetings.

Tip 10
Little open dissension with the boss will be witnessed in open, formal meetings. Any such disagreements will be aired in pre-meeting lobbying sessions.

Tip 11
Peer-group competitiveness can make cross functional project teams difficult to manage.

Tip 12
Logic is expected and respected. Any lack of discernible logic could be interpreted as sloppy thinking or lack of intelligence (or both).

Tip 13
There is less job-hopping than in some other countries. The French have traditionally been one-company focussed in their professional life.

Tip 14
First names are often used amongst peers (especially amongst the younger generation), although surnames are often reverted to in more formal situations or when dealing with superiors.

Tip 15
Eloquence is an important attribute and French managers will often try to dominate people through the force of their rhetoric.

Tip 16
It is important that any written communication is produced in a grammatically correct format.

Tip 17
Humour is based on wit and the intelligent use of satire – neither of which translate very well. The French are less likely to use humour in very serious situations in business than some other nationalities.

Tip 18
A strong separation is made between business life and private life and between business time and family time.

Tip 19
Business lunches can be long and not necessarily for the discussion of business. They are more a relationship building occasion than a place to discuss the finer points of a contract.

Tip 20
Punctuality is variable – possibly better in Paris than in the provinces.

Latest version updated:: 23rd March 2017

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