Our students often ask us if we have special tricks to help them feel more comfortable in social gatherings in French.
No matter how well one speaks a foreign language, it is always nerve-racking to enter a room full of strangers who seem to already know each other. I still get butterflies in my stomach before every networking events I attend, which I still consider more stressful than performing opera in front of a full audience!
The Art of Networking is no easy feat. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that getting back to basics is more conducive to creating an interesting conversation and a real, genuine connection.
My best advice? Just be yourself, be a good listener, and know when to leave the discussion!
Do you know how to introduce yourself appropriately and how to ask the right questions to get the conversation flowing?
Here are 5 Great Tips to Better Network In French
1. Introduce Yourself
Your coat is in the cloakroom, your business cards are in your bag, your glass of wine is in your hand: start mingling and schmingling! Don’t be afraid to join a small group of people or to start a conversation with someone who is also looking for a discussion partner.
- Bonjour, je m’appelle Isabelle. Et vous? (Hi, my name is Isabelle. And you?)
- Bonsoir, je suis Sam. Et vous êtes…? (Good evening, I’m Sam. And you are…?)
- Vous êtes bien Madame Nicolas? Oui, c’est moi. (Are you Ms. Nicolas? Yes, I am.)
- Enchanté(e)! (Nice to meet you!)
- Je suis ravi(e) de faire votre connaissance! (I’m delighted to make your aquaintance!)
2. Ice Breakers: Choosing The Right Questions
You did it! You introduced yourself in French: well done! How about getting to know your networking partner a bit better? Ask him/her open questions to keep the conversation going.
- Vous connaissez l’organisteur / l’organisatrice de la soirée? (Do you know the organiser of the event?)
- Comment avec-vous entendu parler de cet événement? (How did you hear about this event?)
- C’est la première fois que vous venez ici? (Is it the first time you come here?)
- Ça fait longtemps que vous habitez à Genève? (Have you been living in Geneva for a long time?)
- Où habitiez-vous avant de déménager à Paris? (Where did you live before moving to Paris?)
- Est-ce que vous vous plaisez à Montreux? (Do you like living in Montreux?)
- D’où êtes-vous originaire? (Where are you from originally?)
- Est-ce que Nyon est très différente de votre ville natale? (Is Nyon very differemt from your hometown?)
Now that you know your networking partner a bit better, it is a good time for you to inquire about her/his line of work.
- Vous travaillez dans quel domaine / secteur? (In what field do your work?)
- Je travaille dans les ventes / le marketing / l’événementiel / les finances / la technologie / l’éducation. (I work in sales / marketing / event planning / finance / IT / education.)
- Je travaille pour l’ONU / chez Proctor & Gamble. (I work for the UN / at P&G.)
- Je suis présentement en recherche d’emploi / en reconversion professionnelle. (I’m currently looking for a new job / doing a professional reconversion.)
- Je suis à la recherche de nouveaux défis. (I’m looking for new opportunities.)
- Je suis maman / papa à temps plein. (I am a full time mom / dad.)
3. Go With The Flow
So, you’ve been discussing with the same person for over 5 minutes. You got to know him/her a bit better, but there is no personal or professional chemistry. That is fine! If pursuing an interesting conversation or showing a genuine interest isn’t possible, excuse yourself politely and start schmoozing somewhere else!
- Vraiment? C’est très intéressant! (Really? That’s so interesting!)
- C’est / c’était un plaisir de discuter avec vous. (It is / was nice chatting with you.)
- Vous voudrez bien m’excuser, je vais aller me chercher un autre verre. (If you’ll please excuse me, I will get myself another drink.)
- Excusez-moi, mais je dois partir. (I’m so sorry, but I have to leave.)
- J’aimerais vous présenter quelqu’un qui pourrait vous intéresser. Vous avez une carte de visite? (I would like to introduce you to someone who might interest you. Do you have a business card?)
- Vous êtes sur Facebook / LinkedIn? (Are you on FB / LinkedIn?)
- Voici mes coordonnées. (Here are my contact details.)
- Je vous souhaite beaucoup de succès avec vos projets. (I wish you every success with your projects.)
- Au plaisir de vous revoir prochainement! (I look forward to seeing you again soon!)
- À la prochaine! (See you around!)
Practice Makes Perfect!
Would you like to finally feel more confident when speaking French? Book online private French lessons with Prêt à Parler’s Super Profs! We have a solution for every French situation, whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced learner.
Here are a few reasons why our clients’ love learning with us:
- More efficiency: a 60-minute online lesson can achieve the same results as a 120-minute face-to-face lesson, minus the disruption to your day!
- Make real progress with our Great Teachers: finally improve your French conversation and pronunciation with our bilingual native French teachers. We foster intuitive learning by highligting the similarities between French and English to help you move faster and better understand the nuances between the two languages. No more “lost in translation” moments!
- An all-sensory experience: When learning online with us, all your senses and key abilities (speaking, reading, listening, understanding, and writing) are simultaneously stimulated, which leads to an all-rounded and progress-conducive experience.
- We teach much more than French: We, at Prêt à Parler, really love our job and we instil our joy of language comprehension in every lesson. We are serious about teaching French, but don’t take ourselves too seriously, i.e. you will really enjoy learning a lot with us!
If you are looking for an efficient, relevant, interactive and fun approach to learning French, we highly recommend improving your French online with us. Contact us now!
As a native Québécoise, born to a Franco-Belgian family, now living in Geneva with her husband and two children, Isabelle is no stranger to the expat reality! Trained as a professional opera singer, her passion for arts and languages led her to become an ambassador of the French language & francophone culture, i.e. a French Teacher!
She founded Prêt à Parler in January 2015. Since then she's been hard at work helping native and non-native English-speaking expats make French part of their everyday life! Prêt à Parler's mission is based on what Isabelle does best: helping busy professionals and parents improve their language skills by providing a high quality, eco-friendly, fun, no-nonsense approach to learning French online!