Tutorial Transcript

Salut YouTube today I have got a special guest with me my lovely friend Daniel from Colombia! We're coming at you today with an interesting video which is ten tips for working in France with French colleagues we've a lot of industry experience let's say between us I've done videos on culture shocks and in the workplace and stuff but in this video it's really about like ten practical tips that we can give you that will make working with French colleagues a lot easier. So the first thing would be hierarchy, a huge concept here in France something we need pay attention to so the first thing is be careful about VOUS vs. TU - here in France this is very important it's a good thing I would say don't get too familiar with people too quickly just give them some time like if you see a senior manager in the hallway you're not you're definitely gonna be like hey Mark, how was your weekend? How are the kids? Like no no no. Never speak about personal matters, at least not at the beginning. Also, before getting connected or introduced with other people just ask your manager this authorization it's like when you're sending an email in France they may not respond to you if they don't know who you are and you don't have someone with more power and heirarchy in copy Just respect that there's hierarchy and keep the distance accordingly. So the second one which is a struggle for me is about speaking during meetings meaning basically the rule is that if you don't speak during meetings you don't exist. With the French like love of discussion and debate in meetings and stuff if you don't raise your voice if you don't have an opinion if you don't like put your idea out on the table you might as well not even be in the meeting I remember one of the first managers I have here in France that said once well if you don't speak if you don't ask questions during a meeting then you were not part of this meeting - you weren't even there So the third thing is definitely respect the line between personal life and professional life you have to keep the conversation very factual you maybe you talk about how you get to work or you talk about the weather or general politics or current events but you definitely just don't go in there and ask your boss or your colleagues like are you married you have children like you know this kind of things that can be seen as very personal and you've got to respect that in also which is really surprising here in France that you never invite colleagues to your home True! In the last four years I can't even remember how many times I've been to actually invited around to a colleague's house maybe twice you were lucky, once in my case and I've been here longer than you! The point here is basically don't take offense if people don't seem interested in your personal life and don't maybe ask them too many questions and don't expect you know for your colleagues to come right to your house and for the two worlds to overlap like they may do in your culture because here it's not really the done thing and it's quite exceptional So relationships here in France may take some time so please take advantage of every single free minute you have to approach people and to build a relationship with them. So typically here in France we have the pause cigarette which is a break whee people go outside o smoke so if you're a smoker please do that and enjoy it - go! - because this is the time to get to know other people We have the pause déjeuner which is the lunch break and also pause café coffee break so these are good opportunities to connect people that this is actually work time yeah exactly like every minute that you invest in to a colleague will make your life easier in the future because you'll be able to ask them to collaborate with you on something or to help you with something at work. Here if you don't know someone it can be really hard to get them to collaborate with you sacrifice some of their time to help you out on something but if they know you and you've got a strong relationship with them then it will be so much easier you need to earn their trust so the next point on the concept of ambiguity and things not being clear and just having to deal with it and the classic experience of this is the French meeting Well, things are never clear here. You're at the end of the meeting and you're like what just happened? Decisions seem unclear processes seem undclear You can easily feel very lost in what are we actually talking about? It seems like you go to a meeting to talk about A and you go on such a big tangent you end up speaking about Z like this feeling of frustration after every single meeting like what did we actually decide? What was the point of that meeting? And then even in processes I know that a lot of my American expats that come to work in France that drives him crazy because things are disorganized, like where's the policy where's the process? And we're like well we don't really have one! Prepare to defend! This is a key one! Whenever you have a project to present or people to convince make sure you have prepared all the answers to any objections you may have because there will be too many it's straight into the negative feedback yeah where did you get that number from what makes you say that I'm not sure about that and then they'll start discussing it and debating it and you're like guys I've got ten minutes present yes you've got to be prepared to have like your answers and quick and snappy because they're gonna challenge you on different points and if you can answer them short sharp then you can keep moving on and you've also got to kind of it's hard to say that like harden up because if you're sensitive and you're someone that takes things really personally that will be hard because there is such a focus on like challenging you. I just feel like you always have to fight for your idea and your project. But if we look at things positively they realize that you can get skills especially negotiation and also convincing people and how to manage your influence to get things done yeah that's definitely true Also know that here in France you need to seek for consensus especially when developing a new idea or implementing a new project meaning that you will need the approval by every single person - by EVERYONE - if you haven't spoken 100 people about it, don't even try to launch it! You have to get their validation his/her validation before you can really start actually. Don't think that you can do everything on your own because that won't work you need to support and also as I say the approval from your stakeholders, so managing your stakeholders when managing a project is key otherwise you won't succeed exactly it comes back to that relationship stuff we were talking about before like your stakeholders your relationship your network such a huge skill in France. You have to let go of the objectivity what I mean by that you have to let go of strict KPI's objectives measurable outputs like don't get me wrong we set objectives in my workplace but not so black and white Personally I think that you are never good enough here so you can never be hundred percent it's not about it was only of corporate culture but also if you look in the school system the scoring system at school you can never be 20 out of 20 because that doesn't exist perfection doesn't exist. It's still a measure, it's still an indicator but no one is 20 they will always find a reason, a subjective reason, coz that's the way they've grown up in their education system to always do better and better and better I've got quite a few Expat friends and colleagues who say I've lost a lot of confidence working over here you know because I kind of feel like my flaws are revealed and my strengths aren't really celebrated and you've just got to kind of realize that it's just a different mindset so you've got to do some work on yourself to know be sure of yourself and what your strengths are because you know your flaws will be exposed, so don't get too upset in the workplace wing the same kind of rules apply - they don't hate you you're not doing a bad job it's just a way of measuring performance and another point that I wanted to kind of bring up as well let's just make sure you adapt to the office hours because I know in some countries like in New Zealand for example you can kind of adapt to your own schedule like what my brother does because he has 2 young girls he gets into work super early eats lunch at his desk in 20 minutes and then goes home you can't really do stuff like that here it would be quite poorly seen I think you have to be present I agree with you and especially speaking about the Home Office is something which is not really developed in some companies for a country like France which is at the same level all the countries or anglo-saxon countries is not the case in all the companies, there are some big groups that do not have any home office policy developed Yeah that's true. Something you need to be very careful with with anywhere in the world and not specifically in France is observing the way people behave yeah before proceeding especially when saying good morning every time you get into the office I know in some companies in France people do double kiss on each cheek in one of my former company's it was really such a struggle every morning to have to kiss everyone on the floor before starting your work It takes so much time right! Because France is such a culture where a lot of things go unsaid but there's lots of little social rules that's a perfect example like observe the rituals that happen do people kiss each other on the cheek every morning before they start working do you say bonjour to everyone in the office? And usually yes How do they say good morning? When do they take a coffee? Go with them to take the coffee you know, when do they have a lunch break? How long do they take? and really adapt yourself to that way of life because if you stand out you can be perceived as not wanting to try to integrate yourself A bonus tip for you because we haven't covered that yet speak French if you don't speak French like at the coffee breaks in lunch time and you don't try to speak a little bit in meetings you can really be perceived as this typical like foreigner that's not trying to adapt. Yes we're in international environments and yes you can find jobs in English and everything but honestly like it's social suicide I think if you don't try to learn the language. It's just a matter of principle to speak to them in their own language and communicate with them in the language they use. yeah cool so I hope you guys found this video useful especially expats for people that have projects or plans to come to France for work yeah I hope you guys liked it and if you have any other questions whatsoever ask us down in the comment section below we will be checking and we'll be responding to all of your questions so feel free to do that and if not until the next video see you next time à bientôt, bye bye!