Networking etiquette in Paris

Networking etiquette in Paris
Updated 2022-05-03 19:54

Before starting to build your professional network in Paris, you will need to familiarize yourself with the cultural and professional expectations. In order to make a good impression and create a solid foundation for a potential business relationship, be sure to consider the following points as you take your first steps into the networking world.

Introducing yourself in Paris

Introduce yourself with your first and last name and a handshake. Don't be surprised if the handshake is less tight than what you are used to, it is very common in France. Use "Madame" and "Monsieur" until you are asked to do otherwise. While this may seem surprisingly formal, it is the proper form between professionals and should be maintained until your new contact begins using first names.

Be Elegant

In a city known for its elegance and finesse, self-presentation is held in high regard in Paris and is seen as an outward sign of your professionalism, style and success. Be presentable and well-dressed when meeting new people if you want to make a strong and positive first impression. Make sure you are well groomed, pay attention to your accessories, choose neutral colors and aim to be chic, classic and elegant.

Business cards

Consider printing one side of your business cards in French and the other side in English: a practical and thoughtful touch when introducing yourself to new acquaintances in France.

Table manners in Paris

If you are networking over lunch or coffee, keep your hands on the table during the conversation and not on your lap. If you are eating out with your new contact, expect a long meal that will likely include several courses, which could last more than two hours. Maintain good posture and eye contact throughout, and be aware of your tone of voice, lowering the level if necessary.

The art of conversation in Paris

In France, we tend to keep our personal and professional lives separate, so stay away from private questions that could be perceived as indiscreet and derogatory. You'll usually start talking business after dessert. Don't be put off if your contact cuts you off while you are talking, this is a common practice during French conversations and is not considered rude (if not excessive) but rather a sign of interest. A word of caution: strong sales pitches are not welcome in France, so be prepared to take your time and answer questions.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.