Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gift giving "corporate style"

Gift giving is an art. The main goal behing the act of giving someone a gift is to make the other person feel special. It takes a few steps to achieve this goal and affect the other person on an emotional level. Visually, we are naturally attracted to beautiful things (hint: nice gift wrap). Emotionally, we enjoy personalized things (hint: a handwritten card, a frame with a real picture of both of you). Practically, we like things that will add value to our lives (hint: something we can use!).

You can imagine how I was silently in shock when I once received a gift from a person about a year later after I had given that person that exact gift. Basically, she gave me back my gift!

If you take time to choose a gift, it will show. Also, know at least a few things about the person's likes and dislikes. When handing a gift to someone, never, and I repeat, never comment in a way that will make the other person uncomfortable. This includes saying "Do you like it? Oh, I don't think you like it... You can exchange it! ....Yeah, I don't think she liked it..". This is one of the worst things someone can do when giving a gift.

In the corporate world, gift giving is common, yet sometimes misunderstood. Remember to keep it professional. You may want to buy something that can be actually used in the office/business environment. Depending on what the person does or where she/he works, you may also want to keep it more conservative, or less.

Whether you have a large or small budget, creativity is key.
I have a few personal favorites, for $ and $$$ that I would like to share with you:

  • For the Sweet Tooth: delicious Champagne Truffels from Teuscher (Switzerland)
  • For the tea Lover: the blooming teapot, tea for one and blooming green tea from TupperLiving (Tupperware)
  • For the coffee Lover: a magnificent Nespresso machine
  • To complement someone's Stationary: Fine greeting cards with the person's initial(s) - don't forget the envelopes!
  • To add a bit more elegance to someone's Stationary: a classic Lamy fountain pen
  • For news and magazine Lovers: a subscription to a nice magazine ("Pink", for business ladies, "Portfolio", for both business men and women)
  • For the Mom who is also your Coworker: a subscription to "Working Mother" magazine (great!)
  • Car TLC: In addition to a gas card (minimum US$25,-), arrange for the person's car to be cleaned inside and out, and if you want to impress even more, arrange for it to be detailed!
  • To add a bit of Fun and Laughter: The Hallmark "Hoops&Yoyo" collection has a great variety of fun (and funny!) gifts (to be given to someone you know a bit more)
  • To add Motivation: there are great motivational and inspirational cards, posters, frames, even coffee mugs and agendas/calendars. Check out AllPosters.com!
Gifts to avoid:
- Perfume or cologne
- Pets of any kind
- Clothes, especially undergarments
- Shoes
- Jewelry
- BIG things, like a funny 2 gallon coffee mug (?..), a 1yard long pencil or a 20 pounds chocolate bar

To succeed in the art of gift giving, take your time, find out a bit more about the person, be creative, make it pretty, personalize it and be sincere, always!

Kindness is a wonderful thing. Use it wisely!


Jeff said...

We gifted out wine gift packs from Bottlenotes to our best employees few months back... Gifting wine is always a great idea because choosing the right wine bottle is a difficult task.. and therefore would make the employee feel valuable and special..

Denise Zaldivar with IES said...

I agree, Jeff! Choosing the right wine bottle takes time and knwoledge about the person receiving the gift. Great idea to apply personalization. White, red, rose? Sparkling? Bold? Food pairing
(What are their favorite foods?)?