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How to Follow Proper Business Etiquette in France

The French take great pride in their contributions to the world. Be prepared to meet them on their own terms when doing business in their country.


  • Step 1: Learn some French Learn some French. Knowing a few key phrases, even if you are not fluent in the language, always makes a good impression.
  • Step 2: Make advance appointments Make an appointment for a business meeting at least 2 weeks in advance. You can make the appointment in writing or by telephone, depending on who you will be seeing.
  • TIP: Don't try to schedule an appointment in July or August -- those are heavy vacation months.
  • Step 3: Wear suitable attire Wear a dark, conservative business suit to the meeting if you are a man. If you are a woman, wear either a business suit or an elegant dress in soft colors.
  • Step 4: Take business cards to the meeting Take some business cards to the meeting. Have the reverse sides translated into French.
  • Step 5: Avoid confrontational behavior Avoid confrontational behavior or high-pressure tactics during the meeting. The French are more impressed with low-key, logical presentations.
  • Step 6: Formalize agreements Formalize any agreement reached at the meeting in a detailed and precisely worded contract.
  • FACT: As of 2010, France was the world's 5th-largest economy in terms of gross domestic product, which is the measure of a country's economic output.

You Will Need

  • French phrases
  • Advance appointments
  • Suitable attire
  • Business cards with French translation

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