International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders
by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot, Directrice Nationale, BNI France et Belgique francophone
Saying thank you in France and receiving gratitude can be sometimes a bit tricky. Of course, you might have heard about how negative French people can be sometimes, but it is a bit more complicated than this! Let me give you a few explanations.
If you think about it, this difficulty to accept AND give gratitude starts in schools. While American teachers grade from 100% and then reduce the grade when they find mistakes in an essay or an exercise, French teachers start from 0 and add up points when you do good. It ranges from 0 to 20, the latter being perfection. You really have to prove that you are worth something, and it should suffice you. Having often 18/20 grades means you will be the top student of your class. If you get grades like 12/20 you are good enough to pass like most students, and below 10/20 means starting a schoolyear over again. 20 is not often, if ever, given. This is a good example of how French people have trouble recognizing their worth and accept and value gratitude. A lot of them are not cheer on or thanked for their hard work, and it almost feels too much when those moments of recognition arrive.
Take the French language for instance: many reactions to compliments or signs of gratitude consist in diminishing what they accomplished. “You shouldn’t have.” “It’s nothing really!” “It’s natural/normal, don’t worry about it.” “No, no; I’m nothing special really.” All these are quite common to say.
A Week of One Million Thank You’s
Thankfully we still exchange formally gratitude, especially in the workplace, through letters, thank-you notes, emails or, and that is the best possible option, gifts and food. If you want to wow a French person at the end of the year and express gratitude, chocolates, regional specialties and treats are always very happily received. It sounds a bit cliché but it’s true! Pro tip: this also works if you want to make amends for any misunderstanding or wrongs that happened along the path.
If your French coworker has trouble thanking you during the year, but later sends you a letter, an email, or even better, one of their regional products, you know they truly value you and the work you put in.
The key point that I want to make here is this: compared to American people for example, it can be trickier to make French people literally say “Thank you!” or to get the point across when you want to thank them. However, once they truly see the intentions and gratitude you give, and what they can give in returns, it creates long-lasting trust and bonds.
Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!
Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot| Directrice Nationale – BNI France et Belgique francophone
Here are a few messages of gratitude from our Members towards their Chapters.
Member of BNI Bierset Liège net
“ “…you’re the right person for us in finance, credit and investment.”
What a pleasure to hear that, and what a boost to my self-confidence thanks to my Chapter and an organization that allow me to thrive… I say thank you to them, they understood that human contact allows real exchanges and real business.”
Member of BNI Argelès Success
“ BNI accelerated my professional life, I met the right people in the right place. I have changed my professional life and made friends. I get up at 5am once a week with a smile on my face to have fun!”
See the article (in French)
Member of BNI Namur Capitale,
“I accepted the role of President because it is in line with my job: giving wings to companies, but above all to the people who are part of them. It’s a way for me to highlight each Member. I try to bring out the best in them and that each one can give to receive.”`
See the article (in French)