Top 7 Do's And Taboos Of Corporate Gift Giving
By Jacqueline Whitmore
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Gift giving is one of the oldest social traditions. Business relationships are built on personal relationships, and gifts are an important part of cementing social bonds among executives in most parts of the world. The gift you select, the label, the color, and quality of the wrapping paper, the message with the gift, the timing of the presentation all speak loudly about you as a long-term business contact and reliable friend or colleague. On the other hand, careless or improper gift giving can sometimes do you more harm than good to a business relationship. With the holidays right around the corner, consider the following tips to help make gift giving easier and more enjoyable:
- Logos should always be used with discretion on any gift. Don't put a logo on just anything. Logo gifts must be of the highest quality and in good taste. Always keep the logo small so that it doesn't look as though the gift is really a corporate advertisement.
- If you've developed a close relationship with a particular client, the gift should be more personal than the standard logo item or the generic gift purchased by the corporation. The gift should appeal to the client's personal interests.
- Do your homework. Keep a file noting your clients' likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies and other personal information that arise in conversation throughout your relationship.
- Avoid humorous gifts when dealing with persons of other cultures. While you may interpret the gift as comical, your client may interpret the gift as an insult.
- Avoid liquor and wine unless you know the person well. Their company might look upon alcohol as being a negative. Also, for health reasons, some people may not appreciate or enjoy alcohol.
- Flowers and plants are an ideal solution to certain gift giving situations because they are easy to send anywhere in the world. However, certain cultures attribute negative connotations to certain colors or types of flowers. In Japan, for instance, white flowers and chrysanthemums are symbols of death; in Germany, red roses have serious romantic implications.
- Consider your budget, your position, your relationship to the client, and the acceptable price range. Beware of excessive spending. Most companies have policies that restrict them from accepting gifts that exceed certain dollar amounts.
Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. She presents seminars in business etiquette, international protocol and customer services strategies. For more information, call (561) 586-9026 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive Whitmore's free ezine, THE PROTOCOL POST, visit her Web site at www.etiquetteexpert.com.
Article Submitted On: November 01, 2000