Being aware of cross-cultural communication barriers in France is important to you as a professional because it is important to have a clear understanding of your customers, their culture, and their etiquette before meeting them face-to-face.
This ensures that you are able to understand each other clearly when talking or communicating through email or written correspondence. It can also help prevent business miscommunications that can result in lost clients and hard feelings between companies.
France is a country in Western Europe with a population of about 67 million. France is a country with a rich history and culture that dates back to prehistoric times.
French is the official language, with minority languages spoken by an estimated 10% of the population. The capital city of France is Paris, located in the northeast region of the country.
France's culture-based communication style
France has a number of culture-based communication barriers that may make it difficult to communicate effectively with the French. These barriers include:
- The French use many idioms and metaphors (like "raining cats and dogs") that would be difficult for non-native speakers to understand without additional context or explanation from the speaker himself/herself.
- The French tend to be more direct when communicating, which can be surprising for people who are more accustomed to indirect communication.
- The French tend to be less open about what they think or feel than Americans are—making them appear more reserved or even rude at times when compared, for instance, to the way Americans communicate openly and directly in public settings."
- French business people tend to be more formal than, for instance, their American counterparts, especially when it comes to introductions and greetings. They will often address each other by title or profession, such as "Madame le Professeur" (Mrs., Ms., or Miss Professor) or "Monsieur le Directeur."
- The French may be reluctant to share information freely with someone they don't know well enough or who isn't from France. Asking personal questions can make them feel uncomfortable and offend them, so it's best to wait until you have built some trust before asking personal questions about their work lives or families.
- France is a high-context culture, which means that the meaning of a message is dependent on the context in which it is delivered. This makes it very important for people from high-context cultures to be aware of their audience and how they will interpret what they say.
Non-verbal communication in France
- Personal space: They like to keep a large distance between themselves and others.
- Eye contact is important in French culture. However, it is considered rude to stare at or make prolonged eye contact.
- Body Language: The French are known for using hand gestures as a way of communicating with others. These gestures may include pointing at something, waving goodbye or hello, or even touching someone's shoulder to get their attention.