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The Etiquette of Giving Business Gifts

By Sue Fox

Part of the Business Etiquette For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Gift-giving is such a thorny issue in business that most organizations have explicit rules governing the practice. Know the etiquette of giving business gifts to prevent any misunderstanding. Here are a few important elements of business gift-giving:

  • Professional gifts can be quite varied, from food to wine to small conveniences (such as a business-card holder or a pen) to office items (such as a picture frame or a computer accessory).

  • When selecting a gift, be careful to abide by your company's policy concerning gifts. A bit of research and thought can make the gift-selection process a whole lot easier.

  • Should you decide to give a business gift, make certain that it's not too personal. Be careful with humorous gifts as well. If you aren't sure that the recipient will be pleasantly amused, don't send it.

  • Extravagant gift-giving is both bad strategy and in poor taste. Others may not share your love of lavish gifts and may be embarrassed by them — or, worse, resent you for going overboard.

  • Giving a material gift isn't the only way to go, even in business. The gift of your time for volunteer work or for helping a colleague's or client's company charity might be appreciated more than a material item.

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