SME Breakfast 07/02: Authenticity and Trust- Embracing Franco-British diversity

As part of our monthly SME Breakfast series, we were honoured to welcome Hélène Fages of CF interactions as we discussed ‘Authenticity and Trust- Embracing Franco-British Diversity’.

Madame Fages opened up the proceedings by highlighting the relationship between France and Britain. In showing images of the London Eye lit up with the tricolour and the crowds at Wembley Stadium uniting to sing the Marseillaise in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris attacks, she underlined the close relationship between the two nations.

Despite this close relationship, in terms of support and proximity, it is apparent that many differences, cultural, social and linguistic separate France and Britain. The aim of Madame Fages was to educate the audience on the problems with authenticity and trust which arise from our differences and the importance of accepting these when trading.

One of the central topics revolved around the differences in the implicit nature of the British often clashing with the explicit nature of the French. As a result, the importance of clarity and choice of vocabulary is crucial for successful and clear communication. The attendees were presented with a chart of examples comparing what the British said, what the French understand and what the British actually implied. The chart revealed that the phrase “very interesting”, when spoken by a British person, really means “this is clearly nonsense” – while a French person would read it as, “they are impressed”.

This month’s SME Breakfast proved one of the most interactive with all participants able to speak from their own personal and professional experiences and Madame Fages drawing from her wealth of experience helping all to embrace the cross-culture differences.