5 Tips on Business Etiquette in France: A French Investment


Business owners around the world are constantly looking for ways to branch out into international locations. France is a great place for business owners to start looking into if they’re interested in foreign markets. Before starting a business in France it’s important that you consider the business etiquette in France to make the best first impression.

Tip 1: Addressing Formally

Whenever you meet someone new or if you’re addressing your superiors, it is essential that you use the formal titles, “Monsieur” and “Madame”. The French have always been an incredibly formal civilization and in order to make the best first impression, you will have to meet a high standard for politeness.

Tip 2: Giving and Getting Names

When you introduce yourself when you’re entering a French investment opportunity, you have two options. First, you can introduce yourself by saying your first name then your last name, or you can say your last name first. In French business culture, both ways are absolutely acceptable and ensure that you provide and receive business cards after every introduction. In the event that you are afraid of forgetting someone’s name, repeat it after you have received their business card.

Tip 3: Fast and Light Handshakes

In North America we have the idea that the stronger and longer the handshake, the more superior the person is. Whereas with business etiquette in French, the faster and lighter the handshake, the better. You want to ensure that your business partners are comfortable with you and don’t succumb to the feelings of being inferior.

Watch this great short clip with the major tips to follow…

Tip 4: Dress in Business Attire

The most important tip that you can get in terms of starting a business in France is knowing that you always have to look your best when you’re meeting with French business partners. There are rarely any businesses that have a strong understanding of “Dress Down Days” in France, meaning that you should always dress in business attire. Plus, first impressions are incredibly reliant on your appearance.

Business Etiquette in France
Know your Business Etiquette Rules in France. Photo by Virgo Group

Tip 5: Learning the Gestures

When you’re prepared to make a French investment and are doing research into business etiquette in France, it’s also important that you learn the gestures. For example, understanding the importance of les bises (kisses). Also, the hand symbol for “OK” means zero or worthless in France. Brush up on your French gestures to ensure that you’re giving the right responses to your business partners.


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