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01 April 2024

Fast-Track Your Business French

 

As Paris gears up for the summer Olympic Games this year, 100 years after last hosting them, learning French is top of mind for many people. But what of business French? France boasts the third largest economy in Europe, and with government policies designed to attract foreign interest and investment, it is no surprise that we Brits like to do business with our nearest neighbour.  

Previously, we have turned our focus to explaining why learning French may be a great idea for your business. But what if time is of the essence to polish up your business French? Maybe your company has just acquired a new subsidiary in France, and you have a meeting in a fortnight so you want to refresh your French language skills. Or perhaps you have a joint presentation with your Gallic associate next month and you need to fast-track your business French to improve your confidence. If so, how can you shift from panicked to proficient in quick time? 

Fear not – armed with the following tips, you can get ready to do business in French as easily as un, deux, trois. 

Zoom in on the Detail 

When it comes to learning French for business, forget the broader brushstrokes – it is time to focus on the detail. You do not need to relearn your tourist French for ordering croissants and asking directions to the Louvre; instead, you want to home in on the corporate side of the language and spend your time on that.  

We are sure that you are an expert in your field in English, so you already know the industry terms and phrases you need to master in your second language. You may find it helpful to have flashcards with these specific industry terms on them in French so you can embed them into your memory. Stick them in strategic places around the home so that you can practise as you go about your daily routine. 

Immerse Yourself 

Once you feel confident in being able to communicate in French using terms and phrases specific to your industry, it is time to flesh out the bones by immersing yourself in the language of French business across the board. 

Read French business magazines (or head to their websites) to up your game – try Forbes France or Entreprendre. Keep ahead of the latest news on the economy in France by reading financial newspapers such as Les Echos or La Tribune. Tune into a business podcast from France – there are plenty to choose from here. Not only will your business French dramatically improve by thoroughly immersing yourself in the language, but you can impress your French counterparts by proving how up to date you are with the current corporate climate in France!  

Practise, Practise, Practise 

Language lessons are usually undertaken weekly to encourage learning and comprehension without the risk of being overwhelmed. But consider learner drivers who can pass their driving test in a week with intensive training, rather than after months of lessons. Apply this thinking to learning business French and – voilà! – you will be on your way to mastering business French in no time! It will be intense for a short while, but the benefits will be worth the effort.  

So, instead of immersing yourself in your second language weekly, try daily. Tune into French radio in the morning; read French newspapers at lunchtime (see our second tip); and practise your interview, presentation or meeting in the afternoon. Record yourself on your phone so that you can listen again and check your pronunciation. Practise writing in French in whichever word processing programme you use, or by emailing yourself your presentation or role-played interview.  

Reap the Additional Rewards 

If you need any more encouragement towards fast-tracking your business French, we have some good news: learning in this intensive way has the added bonus of contributing to your professional skillset more generally. You will probably find that you become more organised at work, more focused in meetings and that your level of concentration on tasks increases. Your mind has become used to working in a different way, so you become more motivated and enjoy being challenged to go further.  

Think of the benefits of fast-track learning as being like a high-intensity workout that increases your metabolism. You see results quickly but you also get sustained results, which only adds to your motivation. Who knows, fast-tracking your business French could be the ticket to your next promotion, once your manager sees your renewed energy and confidence! 

 

If you would like to fast-track your business French and gain the competitive advantage of speaking a second language, contact us today. At Simon and Simon, we offer intensive language courses in French, Spanish and Arabic that allow you to choose your intensity level from one to four weeks. Whether you would prefer to learn online, face-to-face, as a group of colleagues or simply one-to-one, we are always happy to discuss how we can meet your needs.  

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