Business Gift Giving Etiquette

Giving gifts to clients or business associates can be an awkward experience if you don’t know the etiquette behind it. With Diwali round the corner, consider the following business gift giving etiquette tips.

1. Give a personal touch – it’s always nice, whenever possible, to personalize each gift to each recipient. Your clients and colleagues want to know that you appreciate them. So giving an item that is specifically aligned with their interests can mean more than a generic token or promotional item from your company. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, if you can afford it, most employees would be happy with cash bonuses in lieu of a physical gift. And if you have so many clients that you can’t possibly buy for each one individually, pick out a small but useful item or even a gift card. Don’t just send cheap promotional items or ones that are too specific to each client though.
2. Know how much to spend – If you can’t afford much, even a small token or handwritten cards will let people know you’re thinking of them. But the big mistake to avoid is spending too much on gifts. Certain types of service providers have limits for the types of gifts they can receive and some are not allowed to accept gifts at all. So do some research, or even ask your service providers, before giving gifts to avoid an awkward situation.
3. Don’t make assumptions – Don’t just assume that all of your clients or colleagues celebrate Diwali and Christmas. Giving a gift to someone who can’t accept it because of their beliefs can make both you and them uncomfortable. To avoid this, you can simply ask if they celebrate that occasion, without getting into specifics about their religious preferences. Be sensitive to each person’s religion or beliefs. If someone doesn’t celebrate and would be uncomfortable receiving a gift, you can show your appreciation in other ways. Send a small token after they complete a big project or offer an end-of-the-year bonus to them.
4. Include everyone – The most important thing you can do when giving gifts is to make sure you remember everyone. Don’t offer gifts to only certain team members or certain clients. Your employees are likely to talk to one another and clients within a certain industry or group may do so as well. You don’t want anyone to feel less important or forgotten. To avoid overlooking anyone, keep a running list of clients and employees and check it carefully before sending out gifts or cards.

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