Cultural Intelligence Part 7


Behind our Cultural Intelligence Part 7 are the famous words "Si c'était à refaire, je commencerais par la culture" Jean Monnet, the founder of the European Community - l'Union européenne never said and never wrote.

Heleǹe Ahrweiler is the journalist who, in an article published in Le Monde in 1998 wrote: "... si c'était à refaire, j'aurais commencé par la culture pourrait s'écrier Jean Monnet". Famous words written by Helene Ahrweiler and never pronounced by Jean Monnet.

31. French

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  • Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
  • Joual is the name given to our conversational Québécois French, unmistakably different from France French.
  • We are more demonstrative than English Canadians, more cordial too. It comes from our French ancestry.


32. French & English

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  • Almost seven out of ten Montrealers speak French.

  • Half of our local population is bilingual in French and in English.
  • Montrealers speak French and/or English with a local accent you might find disconcerting at first.  
  • Local anglophones have become bilingual, immigrants are trilingual and francophones have walked out of their cultural ghetto.

33. Gifts

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  • Gifts are opened immediately after they are received.

  • Gifts should reflect the image of your company. 
  • Gifts that are unique to your home country or region will always be appreciated.
  • Gifts should not be too expensive, ambiguous or subject to misinterpretation. 
  • Government employees cannot accept donations or presents in any way related to their functions.
  • When possible, offer a gift that corresponds to the receiver’s tastes. 
  • If you are giving flowers, avoid red roses as they have romantic connotations, and white lilies or chrysanthemums as they are associated with funerals.

34. Handshakes

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  • Embracing and kissing are not current business practices.
  • The person in a higher position of authority or age should be the first to extend a hand.
  • Gender is not relevant. Men or women hold out their hand first. 
  • Handshakes are very present during first encounters as well as upon arrivals and departures. 

  • Handshakes should be frank, open, firm but not overpowering. 
  • Handshakes establish contact when someone is introduced or when an agreement is concluded.

35. Hierarchy

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  • In Montreal we grant a lot of importance to courtesy and equality.
  • It is not the title of a person or his or her status that determines our respect.
  • Although present, hierarchy is less important than knowledge, expertise and decision-making ability.
  • Our attitude towards hierarchy tends to be respectful and friendly rather than formal.

Culture shock is a phenomenon many people experience when they arrive in a new location. The greater the cultural difference, the more difficult the adjustment.

The multicultural character of the City of Montreal offers a wide range of Cultural Intelligence Part 7 with its many cultural experiences and possibilities. The visible such as our cuisine, our writings, our music and our cinema and the invisible such as our culture, our  values, our ethics and our beliefs.

Montreal BUSINESS KIT
Cultural Intelligence Part 7 by Rachel Louise Barry
You may also wish to visit Global Affairs Canada- Cultural Information

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Discovering the 60,000 or so companies established on the Island of Montreal.