In France, are discussions at the coffee machine more important than meetings?

That’s it, you prepared well for the job interview and now you are working in a French company. And now you’re wondering if it’s true that discussions at the coffee machine are indeed more important than those in meetings. After all, the French love coffee, right? Maybe what they say while drinking coffee is really important…

In France, the informal moment is often more important than an official meeting. For example, at the coffee machine, people will speak in a way that is unique to them and different from how they speak in an official meeting.

In business, this informal moments can be very important for getting to know your colleagues or customers. The French language is very rich in these informal moments, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about it!

One thing that is also important to decipher everything that is said in an informal conversation between French people is to understand the French non-verbal language! All those gestures that the French make to accompany their words.

1. Meetings are not as important in France

Meetings seem to be such an important part of work life in the United States, but what if I told you that they’re not as important in France? It’s true! In France, it’s much more common to just have a quick chat with someone instead of scheduling a formal meeting. And the best part is that this saves both time and money. You don’t have to worry about scheduling a conference room or booking a flight to Paris – just grab a coffee with your colleague and chat. Sounds good, right?

The informal moment is often more important in France than an official meeting. Meeting in Paris speak the same language! The French speak and write their own language in a way that’s unique to them, which means you don’t have to worry about any confusion when speaking with your colleagues or friends at the coffee machine for example. It’ll be just like having a quick chat with someone back home!

This will be great chance to get know each other better while practicing your French skills 😀

Do you like learning French with videos?

Receive our free video newsletter every Friday in your e-mail box. You will get 3 “Tips & Tricks” on grammar, vocabulary, phonetics or French culture.
👉👉 Sign up now!

Every Friday afternoon, a French-language video delivered straight to your inbox, with three tips and tricks on the French language.

How are meetings different in France?

In France, people speak differently depending on who they’re talking too – it could even change from one day to another for certain individuals. Meetings seem so formal here because of this reason:

it has nothing do with how much importance  they have, but instead the difference in how they speak to a boss or a coworker.

2. In France, there is less focus on punctuality than in the rest of the world

As a student, you are probably used to being punctual for classes, meetings, and other obligations. In most countries around the world, punctuality is considered a very important trait. But there is one country where people don’t always worry about being on time – France.

In fact, the French actually see punctuality as a sign of bad manners! This can be pretty confusing for visitors or newcomers to France, who are often surprised when their French friends and colleagues show up late for meetings or social engagements.

So why do the French care so little about punctuality? And what can you do to adjust to this cultural difference? 

One thing you need to keep in mind when meeting with French colleagues is that punctuality isn’t as important to them as it is elsewhere in the world. Don’t be surprised if someone shows up late for a meeting – just relax and enjoy their company!

You may also want adjust your schedule accordingly; don’t expect everything to happen at the exact time you’re used to. The French typically operate on French time which is a little more relaxed than the rest of the world…

✔️ Ecoute & lis…

D’une culture à une autre, la notion de temps est très variable, ainsi que tout ce qui en dépend : la ponctualité, le respect des horaires, des rendez-vous… Doit-on prévenir ou s’excuser si on est en retard, si on ne peut pas se rendre à un rendez-vous, même s’il s’agit d’une rencontre informelle ? Est-on toujours pressé ? Quelle est la valeur accordée à la lenteur ? Peut-on « prendre son temps » ?

Les francophones occidentaux sont ponctuels pour les rendez-vous dans le monde de l’entreprise, de la santé, de l’enseignement. Il est mal considéré de gaspiller le temps des autres par des retards. Cette règle s’applique encore plus, presque à la seconde près, pour les transports en commun comme les trains à grande vitesse.

De manière générale, on prévient si on a du retard à un rendez-vous. Toutefois, en France, pour les rendez-vous personnels, chez des amis, il n’est pas impoli d’arriver en retard : on parle alors du quart d’heure de politesse.

Source : TV5Monde

3. The French work fewer hours per day, but more days per week

French people might be the most popular when it comes to vacation time, but what about when they’re working? It turns out that French workers only work on average 35 hours per week and take an average of 3.6 days off in a calendar month.

So what does this mean for us Americans who are working 40+ hour weeks and getting no more than 4-5 days off in a calendar year? According to research published by The Atlantic, we could all learn something from our European friends about how to better manage our work-life balance 

So next time you find yourself daydreaming through your 8th hour of staring at your computer screen or looking forward to Friday morning with unbridled enthusiasm, think about taking a page out of the French work week. Maybe it’s time to embrace that luxurious feeling you get when your day is done and go out for a nice dinner or meet up with some friends!

Work is work, but life outside of the office should be enjoyed as well.

4. French people dress up for work – even if it’s just to go to a cafe or restaurant

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, a grown adult wearing their best clothes to go grab coffee or lunch. You might have even done it yourself. But why? It’s not like your boss is going to ask you about your outfit when you get back from Starbucks! Well, I’ll tell you why, it’s because people are vain and they want to feel good about themselves. And that applies to adults as well as children who dress up for Halloween parties at school, so don’t blame the adults just because they’re more aware of what they look like.

I know it may seem like I’m a stickler for rules, but the truth is that French people dress up for work – even if it’s just to go to a cafe or restaurant. You should never show up to do your job in sweats and flip-flops (unless you’re delivering pizza). Here are some tips on how to be dressed appropriately when you’re at work:

  1. Make sure your clothes match the uniform of the establishment where you’ll be working;
  2. Wear shoes that aren’t dirty or scuffed;
  3. Keep makeup minimal and hair out of your face.

Dressing up for work may seem like a waste of time, but it’s really not. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll be more productive. And who knows, maybe one day your boss will actually compliment you on your outfit!

5. Stores close early, around 8pm

In France, stores close early, around 8pm. This can be a bit of a culture shock for American students who are used to shopping until late night. But there are some benefits to this French early bird mentality.

For one, it means that people have more time to enjoy their evenings.

And two, it’s a great opportunity to experience some of the best food in the world!

So if you’re ever in France, don’t miss out on the chance to try some local cuisine.

I’m not sure if it’s the wine or the food that makes the French want to go to bed so early, but I’m guessing it has something to do with both. And I have to say, I kind of like it. It’s nice to be able to actually get a good night’s sleep without worrying about work or bills or anything else.

So if you ever find yourself in France, remember: get your shopping done before 8pm! Otherwise, you’ll  be out of luck.

French speakers and writers often use informal language in their daily interactions. This is because the way we speak with our friends or colleagues at the coffee machine can be more important than formal meetings, such as a business conference call for example.

A good way to be comfortable in these informal discussions is to know the all-purpose words that the French use all the time. Go read the article, French all-purpose words will have no more secrets for you.

So what does it take to get your message across when speaking informally? We’ve outlined some of the secrets below so you know how to avoid sounding too stiff and pompous while still getting your point across effectively.

And if that sounds like an intimidating task then fear not! Our team of experts are ready and waiting to help you master this skill through personalized coaching sessions tailored just for you.

What other tips would make sense for learning how to communicate in French without talking down to people? Let us know

Articles that might interest you:

1 thought on “In France, are discussions at the coffee machine more important than meetings?”

Comments are closed.