This week, I'm revving up for a fancy France-themed networking event next Tuesday, down in sunny Preston. Networking is all the rage these days - it's the old art of knowing who to know and what they might be interested in.
Why network in French?
With 49% of UK managers saying that they value an employee who speaks French, your language skills are definitely something to mention at the next company mixer. Throwing it in casually or showing a French client that you appreciate their wonderful language can further your career.
You don't have to go all out and discuss Molière with perfect fluency, but a few well-placed lines can help you stand out in any crowd.
"Bonjour" is a failsafe greeting for everyone. Now remember, we're out to impress, so perhaps add a friendly "Comment-allez vous?" (How do you do?).
In France, it is considered polite to greet with a "Bonjour" followed by a polite address, for example "Bonjour Madame" if you're speaking to a lady, "Bonjour Monsieur" if you're speaking to a man, or "Bonjour Messieurs-dames" for any mixed-gender group. It translates to "ladies and gentlemen", but is also perfectly acceptable for use when you are talking to a couple or a very small group.
And of course, you want to introduce yourself. "Je m'appelle" (My name is), perhaps followed by "je travaille chez" (I work at) or "je suis" followed by your job title. ProZ has a great list of job titles to choose from.
In "4 ways to ace your next networking event", Forbes recommends that you focus on how to help others to ensure you make an impact. Phrases like "Qu'est-ce que je peux faire pour vous?" (What can I do for you?), "J'aimerais vous aider avec ce problème" (I would love to help you with that problem" or "J'ai une idée" (I've got an idea) can open up a conversation in your favour.
If your conversation partner has just made a great point or given a speech, compliment them and say "Je trouve votre avis très impressionnante" (I find your opinion very impressive). Or if it's gone all quiet and awkward, I recommend the Queen's favourite: "Êtes-vous venu de loin?" (Have you come from far?).
Before you go, make sure you've said "Voilà ma carte, j'éspère avoir le plaisir de parler avec vous bientôt" (here's my card, I hope to have the pleasure of speaking with you soon). A simple "Au Revoir", followed by the terms of address discussed in greetings above, is excellent.
I have added three audio files to go with each section, so you can practice the pronunciation of your new French killer phrases. Bonne chance! (good luck)
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