French etiquette in business

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  • French etiquette in business
  • Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I might end up in a Swiss office for a few days. If I start with my casual school/holiday French is this likely to cause offence in a semi formal work situation?

    Woudn’t want to put my pied in it 🙂

    peterfile
    Member

    Where abouts in Switzerland? French, German or Italian speaking bit?

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Just don’t ask them about the Nazi Gold…..

    Indeed, what’s the language of the canton you’re going to be in? Your schoolboy French won’t go down at all well in a Swiss German canton!

    FWIW, I’ve found that most Swiss business environments tend to switch to English as the ‘neutral’ language.

    Edukator
    Member

    Depends whether they speak French, German, Italian or Rumantsch, or more probably English. I worked for Lindt and the company language for group meetings was English.

    WackoAK
    Member

    Just don’t ask them about the Nazi Gold..

    or tax evasion, money laundering, fence sitting

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    French? Pah. You’re forgetting your “Brits abroad” etiquette! They all understand English if you speak LOUD and slow.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Blokes here go on the phone to France –
    This office’s half of the conversation usually goes something like

    “Fabien? Bonjour Fabien!”
    “Oui, bonjour”
    “Oui, I’m fine merci”
    “So, that thing you emailed about monsieur…” etc

    Quite amusing, but the French guys don’t seem to mind.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    French etiquette? Remember to factor in the 3 hours for your lunch every day, where you can pop out to drink wine then blockade a port, or dump a few tons of horse poo outside the local town hall. Oh… and you’ll be needing these…

    … to smoke while you stare into the middle distance, disinterested in anything anyone has to say

    Nice bit of not so casual racism there, Binners. *Slow clap*

    peterfile
    Member

    Blokes here go on the phone to France –
    This office’s half of the conversation usually goes something like

    “Fabien? Bonjour Fabien!”
    “Oui, bonjour”
    “Oui, I’m fine merci”
    “So, that thing you emailed about monsieur…” etc

    Quite amusing, but the French guys don’t seem to mind.

    😆

    There’s an old scottish guy here who starts talking to our dutch colleagues in a dutch accent whenever he’s around them or on the phone. In english 🙂 It sounds brilliant to be honest, really convincing! The dutch guys love it and he has no idea he’s doing it.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    … and if you spend more than a few hours within a mile of a field, then don’t forget to pick up your EU farming subsidy

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s French Switzerland, I know that there’s not much crossover.

    The meeting itself will be in English, just thinking about general chit chat. I guess that answers the question itself doesn’t it?

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    my hovercraft is full of eels

    The meeting itself will be in English, just thinking about general chit chat. I guess that answers the question itself doesn’t it?

    Yep, pretty safe to say that the meeting, and all chit chat would be in English. No harm having a little schoolboy French lined up for hotel/restaurant use, however, as an attempt to use the local language is always appreciated IME.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    general chit chat.

    Start off with, “So, how did WW2 go for you? Must have been nice looking after all that Gold.”

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Flashy looking like he’s about to deploy some Gallic chit chat……

    Edukator
    Member

    Unless you speak better French than they speak English it will gravitate to English. In The German speaking area they will try to speak English even if they can’t and your German is excellent. When they talk among themselves don’t be surprised if they start speaking a local dialect that even the Germans have to subtitle.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’m looking forward to the hotel/travel stuff for the practice!

    On the way back from Germany after six months of being a bit lost we stopped in France and I ended up talking the poor hotel woman’s ear off, it was such a relief to be able to!

    peterfile
    Member

    Yep, pretty safe to say that the meeting, and all chit chat would be in English.

    Indeed. I spend my working day with Spanish, Dutch, German, Belgian and Irish. with the exception of the Irish, everyone converses in English.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Flashy looking like he’s about to deploy some Gallic chit chat…

    binbins meets him in arrivals

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    You’ll be fine with general chit chat, it’s major faux pas that’ll cause the problems.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I’m looking forward to the hotel/travel stuff for the practice!

    I find they always respond in English, so I always have dual language conversations.

    “Bonsoir, J’ai reserve, ….”

    “and your name sir…”

    etc

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    There’s an old scottish guy here who starts talking to our dutch colleagues in a dutch accent whenever he’s around them or on the phone. In english It sounds brilliant to be honest, really convincing! The dutch guys love it and he has no idea he’s doing it.

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhtq1ObGHy8[/video]

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    It doesnt hurt to make a little effort and it will be appreciated. You can always rehearse the “my French is not good but I must try and practice a little”. The meeting will be in English and they will almost certainly speak it very well. Have fun.

    Excuse to post this again ….

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSeaDQ6sPs0[/video]

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I find they always respond in English, so I always have dual language conversations.

    “Bonsoir, J’ai reserve, ….”

    “and your name sir…”

    etc
    When we were out in Chamonix a few years back a mate who was fluent in french but hampered by a guilford accent was getting increasingly frustrated by them all talking back to him in english. What made it worse was my school french with a shrug and mumble was getting responses in French 🙂

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Watch and learn Molly. Watch and learn….

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3U-r8T31Ns[/video]

    brakes
    Member

    I reserve my crap French for speaking to shop and restaurant staff – in the office it’s English only.
    They don’t teach you French for things like wifi access, spreadsheet, return on capital employed, risk-free rate of return, or knocking shop at school.

    hampered by a guilford accent

    people from Guildford have no accent.

    Excuse to post this again ….

    Worth noting that if you work with any French folks, they may find some of the words* rather rude, so headphones advised…!

    * OK, just the one word! 🙂

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    As above the Swiss have their own version of German (Schweise Deutsch) but they understand and can speak High-German also. The French speaking Swiss have an accent which French can detect and they have their own word for eighty rather quatre-vingt (huitante I recall)

    EDIT as a slight aside re Guildford accent, there certainly can be a fairly “plumy” Surrey/home-counties accent or a rural drawl depending.

    slackalice
    Member

    To assist with Binners’ cultural stereotyping, you might wish to prepare yourself for some cheek to cheek kissing too.

    I read somewhere that they all do that 😉

    This could well be my colleague:

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yJ_HrZImWQ[/video]

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @CFH – indeed re putain, the word “puh-ness” (spelt wrong I’m sure but that’s the phonetic) is more acceptable

    Edukator
    Member

    For Brakes:

    y a t-il une connexion wifi SVP ? (y-a le wifi ici ?)
    tableur (xl)
    retour sur investissement (c’était rentable/ce n’était pas rentable)
    le meilleur retour sur investissemnt sans prendre de risques inutiles

    I don’t know what “knocking shop at school” is but would guess at “salope”.

    As for “putain”, “purée” or “punaise” are more business friendly.

    brakes
    Member

    thanks, have I been Edukated?

    brakes
    Member

    merci, j’ai été Edukated?

    Je voudrais mettre une clôture autour de cette licorne.

    Thank me later.

    Edukator
    Member

    Only if you learn and use it.

    clubber
    Member

    To throw another thing into the mix

    Tutoyer 🙂

    http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjectpronouns_3.htm

    bikebouy
    Member

    Binners wins the thread..

    Hilarious comments, made me chortle out loud. 😆

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 47 total)

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