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Business English Women Learn Cross-Cultural Communication at French Grass Roots

Business English in France

Les Dames de FER Champion Cross-Cultural Communication

Business Women Pioneer Cross-Cultural Communication Training

The world of business English has always been synonymous with men wearing faces of economic importance, draped in black suits, and wheeling and dealing in high finance figures which ring the size of telephone numbers.

However, although the global crisis and economic meltdown unarguably brought austerity, hardship and suffering, it may be said that it did bring to the surface decades of deeply-hidden finely-tuned business-minded qualities that had lain in women due to the demands of domesticity.  And, as the adage goes, when the going gets tough – the tough get going!

Women led the way as they heralded the important role played by entrepreneurs in a shrinking and sinking economy.  Accustomed to hard work and multi-tasking, as well as the art of diplomacy, Business English women have accounted for the reported 20% increase in self-employment since 2008.  Yet, not only at home within England’s green and pleasant land did the birth of British women’s business acumen bubble to the surface, but also overseas in some of the most culturally challenging of business markets – France.

Les Dames de FER – yes, it may be read as ‘Women of Iron’ and, no, there is no association with the late Margaret Thatcher – is a cross-cultural network of English and French women in business in rural France.  Les Dames de FER support and promote small rural businesses, whilst providing cross-cultural communication training for Business English women, which has recently been reported by freelance writer, Cindy Mobey.

You are probably wondering why we decided to highlight cross-cultural communication training within small rural French networks, and you are justified in your doubts.

As you know, intercultural communication is not a one-way process.  To communicate across cultures with the aim of successfully developing business and work relationships, requires abstract qualities of acceptance, understanding and diplomacy which form the foundations upon which to build trustworthy, long-lasting working and business relationships.  As small businesses grow and develop into large complex organisations so do their policies and rules, which may overlook the abstract qualities required for successful cross-cultural communication.  The intricacy of company policies and contracts may limit the opportunity to wholly understand the differences in cultures as power and language become major players.

For many learn Business English professionals who do not start at grass roots in small cross-cultural networks, such as in Les Dames de FER, the cross-cultural shock may be substantial.  The great French lunch may not be quite as great when reduced to a swallowed sandwich whilst sitting at a screen in a London office.  The need to exercise and keep-fit may no longer be a personal preference, but may form a condition of your contract of employment.

Les Dames de FER may not be rubbing shoulders with the prestigious city-based chambers of commerce or directors’ institutions yet, but it may be worth remembering that, at times, less really is more.




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