You’ve reached a comfortable level of fluency in general French and you know many expressions. However, you are working with French colleagues and clients in Paris or elsewhere, and you need to master Business French.
Here are some tips to help you expand your business French vocabulary and discuss professional matters
1. Read La Tribune online
La Tribune is a French daily newspaper covering financial and economic news, including stock market news and reports. All of its articles are also available on its online edition.
Choose one business article a day to read on the La Tribune website. Try to find one which relates to the line of business you’re interested in, otherwise any business article will do.
While you are reading, jot down 10 words you’re not familiar with. Look up their meanings in a dictionary and write them down by hand in a notebook. Writing things down manually will help you to commit them to memory better.
Before choosing the next day’s article to read, review the 10 words you learned the previous day.
2. Watch a business report online on France24.com
From Monday to Friday, France 24 features a daily video report on French and international economic and business news called « Le journal de l’économie ».
While watching the report online, don’t worry about understanding every single word, but do listen carefully and make note of the vocabulary words that come up most often. Write them down and look them up in the dictionary to check if you got the spelling right.
Write down the meanings in your notebook, adding them to the other words that you’ve learned in tip #1 above. Also, try to use them in sentences of your own. Again, review the new vocabulary words before watching the next day’s video report.
3. Give yourself a target of learning five to ten words a day
Review the newspaper or listen to France 24, and underline the five or ten new words you think you’ll have the hardest time remembering.
Write out each word by hand in your notebook, followed by its meaning—ten times each. You should also try to reuse the words in contexts.
Repetition is key when it comes to remembering new vocabulary, so the act of writing it down repetitively will help you commit it to memory easily.
If you learn five new words a day, five days a week, you’ll be learning 25 new words a week, or a minimum of 100 words a month!
4. Write a paragraph in French about your line of business
Imagine that you are meeting an important business contact and have to describe what you do or talk about the line of business that you’re in. Write down in French the key points of what you’d like to say in a paragraph, and try to incorporate some of the words you’ve learned doing the other exercises in the previous tips above.
If you’re not currently in a specific line of business, write about your dream business sector. You can also write this in a question and answer format, as if you were having a face-to-face discussion with a potential business partner.
Follow these tips and you’ll quickly and easily improve your knowledge of business French, as well as your confidence in your expression skills.
If you master business French, you’ll definitely have a more competitive edge with the potential to increase your professional opportunities and build up important business relationships with French-speakers.