10 Useful Phrases to Remember When Visiting Paris

For the adventurous traveller looking to experience an authentic stay, there are several excellent hostels in Paris that make the ideal base for getting to know the City of Lights in an intimate way. Knowing just a few basic phrases in the French language will enhance your experience even further – and can also be extremely helpful in difficult situations.

Here are ten of the more important phrases you may like to take on board, and while these are very basic, the helpful staff in any of the hostels in Paris will be more than willing to help you expand your French vocabulary.

Bonjour (bohn-zhoor) – Never underestimate the ability of a simple “hello” as it can mean the difference between being helped and being snubbed. Use it as liberally as possible even in straightforward business transactions.

Au revoir (ah reh-vwar) – A simple “until we meet again”. Again, use it whenever parting ways with someone you have just met – even those that you meet briefly in the hostels in Paris – it’s excellent practice and will make you feel more like a local.

Monsieur (muh-syuhr), Madame (mah-dahm) and Mademoiselle (mah-damwa-zell) – The French equivalent of Mr, Mrs and Miss. When speaking formally, use madame and when speaking less formally or to a young woman, use mademoiselle.

Comment vous appelez-vous? (com-man vuz ah-peh-lee-vuh?) – “What is your name?” is a must-learn when in Paris. Calling someone by name, along with the proper greeting and title, will greatly increase your chances of not only getting help but getting your respect returned as well.

Où est (Oo-ay) and Où son (Oo-sohn) – “Where is” and “where are”. Commonly you may need to follow these with l’hôtel (low-tel) for hotel, l’hôpital (low-pee-tahl) for hospital, les toilettes (ley-twa-let) for the toilet, and cafeteria (ka-fe-te-rya) for cafeteria.

Je ne comprends pas (zhuh nuh khomp-rond pah) – “I do not understand” is a perfectly acceptable response when a local overestimates your grasp of the French language. You’ll probably use this one a lot!

Parlez-vous anglais? (Parr-leh-voo ohng-ley?) – “Do you speak English?” is a very common question, and most Parisians know a little English – at least this phrase! Even if the answer is no, with a little encouragement you may find some joy.

Combien ça coûte? (kohm-byan sah koot?) – “How much is that?” is an important phrase to remember – especially if you want to avoid overspending in the many tourist traps of the city. It shouldn’t be a phrase you’ll have to use in any of the hostels in Paris, however, as many staff are seasoned travellers themselves and are multi-lingual to at least some degree.

Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? (Poo-vay voo mi-day see-voo-play?) – “Can you help me, please?” is a useful phrase to use when you need to approach strangers to ask for help or directions. The extra “please” at the end helps you come across as respectful – which is, again, useful when dealing with Parisians.

Excusez-moi (eks-kyooz-e-mwah) – “Excuse me” is a versatile phrase that changes meaning depending on the situation. “What did you say?”, “let me through”, and “I’m sorry” are some of the most common situations where you’ll use this phrase.

Of course, this is just a very basic list of useful phrases you might want to learn before heading to Paris, but even knowing this smattering of the language will give you the confidence to attempt your first conversations.

Win Loss Analysis – Is It Just Another Buzz Phrase

It seems every decade we are inundated with new business buzz words. Sure they appear to be new but the strategies rarely are. Take the 1970s and 1980s TQM or Total Quality Management, then in the 1990s ISO9000 was all the rage, now it is all about Six Sigma Black Belt. The reality is, it is all the same, that is to say the philosophy and methodology. Of course, for management consultants to get paid, and MBA “A-school” tuition justification they have to change the wording to make it sound like everyone knows what they are talking about – so they go and invent a new language.

Is the concept of Win Loss Analysis any different than adding customer feedback loops back into marketing, branding, product development, distribution and customer service process? No, it’s just a simpler term to sum it all up in a nice catch phrase. Okay so, if it is such a simple concept, then why on Earth isn’t every small business, government agency, academic institution, healthcare facility, military unit and corporation doing it? Ah, good question.

Every neighborhood deli in Brooklyn does it. The proprietor is constantly asking customers; did you like the meat? Do you prefer a less spicy version? Was it too tough? Interestingly enough, even though this is more or less ‘common sense’ to an entrepreneur building a business as they attempt to secure new customers and keep the old golden even the smallest lemonade stand operator assumes everything is fine as long as yesterday’s sales were good. Buzz words or buzz phrases aside, it does matter and it really is about winning or losing in the free-market.

As business executives we understand the importance of customer service especially when we become the victims of lousy service in the things we buy for ourselves. We get upset, complain, piss and moan and say to ourselves we are; “never going to use that business again or recommend them.” Still, it’s important to look in our own mirrors early and often. Are we walking our talk, or just citing the proverbial in Vogue buzz words of the day? And to that point, if you don’t plan to win, you are preparing to lose. It’s up to you to choose.

So, the question remains – do you have a Win Loss Analysis and constant feedback loop in your organization? Does the task seem too daunting? Are you satisfied with your current sales minus the guaranteed attrition? Do you want more referrals, stronger brand recognition? Do you want higher repeat intervals and customer retention rates? Don’t be afraid of the truth, this is competitive information you need to satisfy your best customers (your competitors’ best prospects).

Just assuming everything is wonderful because yesterday’s lemonade sales were good, doesn’t mean you didn’t leave a sour taste in the mouths of your patrons. Maybe you are doing great today, but that is a recipe for disaster.

Win Loss Analysis may indeed be another of this decades corporate buzz phrases, but if you want sales to bloom you need to pollinate your customer base and grow your market share for future harvest.

It is Okay to Use Phrases Such as – At No Cost to You – Just Don’t Say Free

As a highly prolific online article writer with nearly 22,000 online articles, I am constantly barraged with email questions from new article marketers who are just starting out. No I do not mind assisting them, and yes, I’d be glad to answer a few of your questions too. Under one condition, you allow me to use my answers in future articles on the topic.

Not long ago, I was discussing the types of trigger words that make sense to use in article marketing without getting too salesy. What works and what should be avoided. Well, I do have some very serious thoughts on this, so let’s discuss this shall we? Very well then.

Now this is one of my pet-peeves and it’s something that often rubs web-surfers the wrong way. You see, you should avoid and try very hard not use the word “FREE” in you online article by-line – why you ask? Well, for one because although FREE is most definitely everyone’s favorite 4-letter word, in an online article FREE causes your articles to not be picked up by electronic online newsletters or Ezine Editors who send out newsletters because many SPAM systems will exile the article it to the spam box.

When I explained this to a newbie in article marketing, we he definitely agreed and stated matter-of-factly; “I am not crazy about that word anyway, which is why I use the word complimentary. It IS complimentary. But the reason is I saw many others using it, so thought it was what people expected.”

Others do use it, and it makes them sound cheap, gimmicky, overtly marketing. You are beyond that, you have letters next to your name, you are a professional! Remember this. Complimentary is a very nice word to use, smart choice indeed. Please think on this and do not forget; it is okay to use phrases such as – At No Cost to You – just don’t say Free. Please consider all this.