News Articles

Study shows sexism rife in French workplaces

DSC_1357_SMALL_0_0Eight out of 10 French women say they regularly face sexism at work, according to a government-commissioned study. As Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem prepares a law on equality between the sexes, the report shows there is along way to go in the French workplace.                             (Read article here.)

French management style slated by foreigners

3cce668bb9b1aadf015c0d26091abff1d411b4326aec7565d8f8f822d18e8924A massive survey of foreigners working in France has revealed that the French management style is far from being an international role model – but the extended lunch breaks, at least, were a redeeming feature. We take a closer look at the findings.

The study – French Management as Experienced by Non-French Managers – was carried out over the past few years by researchers at the Panthéon-Assas University in France and Princeton University in the US.  They quizzed 2,200 non-French executives about how they experience French management at 18 different companies on the Paris stock market index CAC 40.  (Read article here.)

Why You Hate Your British or American Business Partner

uk-usa-flag- free image 1444065-638x410Is what you say what you mean, or is what you don’t say what you mean? In seminars and by coaching, my partner Nick Parry and I spend a lot of time explaining to our direct language business clients — Germans, Swiss Germans, Austrians and Scandinavians — why they hate us.  It’s simple: we don’t say what we mean.  And we mean what we don’t say.

We like to leave the interpretation of what we are saying to the listener.  This coded speech, described as “beating around the bush,” being “woolly,” vague or indirect always has a deeper second meaning, which unless asked about will be interpreted as being clearly communicated by the person communicating.  This drives literal, direct language people — for whom “yes” means “yes” and “no” means “no” — crazy. (Read article here.)


The Smile Factor and International Business

smile-emoticon-free image 640x640For busy businesspeople, flying off to some foreign country to conduct a deal, the things that are most on their minds are their upcoming meetings, their PowerPoint presentations and, in that zone of the brain that does not forget threats, the soft somber voice of their boss who intoned, “Come back with results.” Their crowded brains have little space for pondering about how they should or should not smile upon landing. Even less room is available for wondering about how they will consciously or unconsciously react to their foreign partner’s smile — or lack of one.

Yet how to interpret a smile when doing business is vital because the difference between smiling or not may be the difference between doing successful business or not. For this reason alone it is crucial to learn about what a smile means in which situation and to which person in which culture.

Many people, for example, those from relationship-oriented regions (such as Asia, the Middle East, Southern Europe, Latin America, parts of the U.S., India, etc.) who live or do business in task-oriented countries (much of Scandinavia and the German speaking lands, for instance) often share a common complaint: “Nobody smiles here!” [Read article here].

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