Tips for French Business Etiquette | Newsdle

Tips for French Business Etiquette


Whether its behaving in a meeting, eating at a breakfast meeting, French business etiquette is serious business. It is strongly guided by several unique customs. Being aware of French business etiquette is the difference between landing your dream job, a crucial client, or offending your associates!

Addressing Colleagues and Clients

Formality is highly important in France. One should always address superiors and those you meet for the first time as either Monsieur or Madame. It is great business etiquette to make a lasting first impression, so a high level of political correctness is critical.

Light Handshake

French-style handshakes are both brisk and light. Expect a loose grip with only one or two movements. If you are used to the American-style strong handshake, you could leave your French business etiquette feeling inferior! Do not misinterept the light handshake as a means of a quick exit

Introducing Yourself

In French business, introductions are made using both first and last names. You may encounter others introducing themselves with their last name first, followed by their given name. This is also considered acceptable in French business culture.

Business Attire

Wearing proper business attire is considered essential business etiquette in France. Quality clothing, jewellery and accessories including watched will increase your status quo. “Casual Friday” is not followed in the French workplace, so don’t look the fool on a Friday! Always look like you mean business!

Dining Etiquette

A long business lunch in France is quite the experience. Be prepared for a long, formal style of dining! Keep your hands always rested on the table, never on your lap. If wine is served, keep in mind that the more you drink the more you will be topped up! If you have had enough, leave some in your glass. Business conversation typically begins after dessert is served, and is typically left to the host to initiate it!

Long-term Scheduling

French business etiquette is to plan meetings well in advance. Typically, this can be as far in advance as two weeks. Not enough notice will often make the other person at the meeting feel pressured.

Expect Direct Questions

Business etiquette in France is to ask a lot of questions, and it is not rude to interrupt. It is common French conversation style. It is seen as a way to express your interest in the other person and the ongoing conversation. If you find yourself being interrupted, take it as they are positively interested in what you’re saying.

Check out our blog on wedding traditions in France.


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