Preparations for the big holidays of the year are ongoing in companies, we understand how important it is to choose the right gifts for partners, show attention to suppliers, surprise colleagues and make employees happy. Every time such holidays approach, we are forced to spend time and additional funds, and when we get lost among many choices, we no longer know what to give? Business gifts are a guarantee of success that will remind you of your business for a long time, so it is very important to make an effort so that business gifts not only surprise your partners and suppliers, but also help you stand out from others. How to do it? We will answer this and other questions together with Živile Sederevičiūta-Pačiauskiene, dean of the Creative Industries Faculty of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and business gift etiquette specialist.
Photo by photographer Simos Bernot.
At the beginning of the conversation, Živilė notices that " The essence of a gift is to emotionally set the addressee. This means that the gift should have an element of surprise and something that is meant for that person. In order to fulfill these two moments, what we give must be turned into a gift. If we only hand over the purchased item, it remains just an item. Živilė notices that if we buy a gift, after finding out what the person wants or making an agreement in advance, in this case the moment of surprise disappears, and if we do not shape the gift, do not give the gift packaging, do not pay attention to the gifting process, then the purchased item simply remains an item. So what can be done so that the gift giving process brings only positive emotions to both parties?
First of all, we need to know what we can give as a gift and what should be avoided, so we ask Živilė: what is the difference between a personal gift and a business gift?
Food: A personal gift, it is an item that is suitable for that person's personal use. These can be very personal gifts given in the circle of loved ones, but when it comes to business gifts, all personal items, such as: cosmetics, or very personalized little things, are not suitable. The only item from personal gifts suitable for the business world is a tie, everything else is not, neither good lipsticks, nor good perfumes, nor good shirts, nor socks are suitable for Christmas. When it comes to business gifts, it is important to mention that all higher quality stationery is perfect for this. Not just any pen, pen case or notebook and wallet, but high-quality, luxury items that are perfect for gifting. So, if we are giving a business gift to a person, an individual, not a company, all high-quality stationery is suitable. If we are giving a gift to a company, then anything that could stay in the company and be applicable is suitable. Even more, when choosing a gift for the company, you should choose everything that is not very practical and that is completely unsuitable as a personal gift, ie: paintings, souvenirs, vases, figurines, accessories that are suitable for the office and can be admired by others. Why aren't all these good for personal gifts? And because you don't have to try to match the taste of solinezant. For example, if we do not see the gifted picture on the wall after two weeks, we may be offended and this may be the end of our friendly relationship. And for the owner, it is a big dilemma: whether to save the relationship or hang an unpleasant picture. So all artworks and souvenirs are suitable for business gifts.
And what is wrong? Not all business paraphernalia is suitable for holidays and anniversaries. If we have made umbrellas and jumpers and want to give these items as a gift on some occasion, then in principle people who receive this gift will do us a favor by drinking from a cup with our logo or wearing our umbrella and jumper. All advertising paraphernalia can be given as a gift without occasion, during meetings, on ordinary occasions, but not on the occasion of an anniversary or holiday. It is important to remember that the more original the gift, the more surprising it is, the more it corresponds to the meaning of the gift.
So, to summarize, we can say that we give a business company something that is impractical, but can stay in the company and everyone can enjoy (works of art and various souvenirs are suitable). When choosing a business gift for a person, anything that is impersonal but very applicable at work is suitable.
Although Business Etiquette warns us to avoid cosmetics or food products when choosing business gifts, today we can see exactly such business gift trends that came from the West. Bad, is it good? There is no one opinion, but if the product is of high quality, why not add such a product to the business gift. Etiquette is the rules that are recommended to be followed, but as the environment changes and we adapt to new challenges, we can also change the rules.
So we already know what items we can give as gifts, what is important to pay attention to and what to avoid. However, just choosing a gift is not enough, it is also important to know the rules for giving business gifts. We ask Živiles : what are the basic rules for giving business gifts? And what is important for every donor to know?
Živile: The first moment - elements of surprise and joy. The second thing in fulfilling those elements is the gifting process, which is gift wrapping and wishes. In order to turn the item into a gift, we wrap it beautifully. It is important to remember that the more we think about that person, their interests and needs, the more likely we are to choose a gift that meets those needs. And then, when the person receives the gift, he sees your efforts and the fact that you paid special attention to the gifting process. It is this effort that makes the gift special. Thus, the process of giving a gift differs from a simple gift in that it is we who make it so.
Here it is important to talk about the gifts of civil servants. The law stipulates that a civil servant should thank and refuse to accept a gift after receiving it. Naturally, the question arises, what is that law? The provision of gifts to civil servants is regulated by the Law on the Coordination of Public and Private Interests in Civil Service . And he says that civil servants must declare all gifts whose value exceeds 150 euros. However, this does not mean that they can accept all gifts up to this amount. If the gift has a positive attitude, it means a conflict of interest and such a gift should either not be accepted or declared and left to the institution. Zero gifting policies, where there are no gifts at all, are also becoming very popular now. It also depends on the institution, if it is a public institution on compliance with the law, if it is a private institution, then on certain documents regulating the policy of the institution. Generally, if something with the institution's symbolism is given as a gift, such as calendars, books, some informational publications, the value of which does not exceed 30 euros, then the gift can remain with the civil servant. However, if the value exceeds 30 euros, then this gift is considered the property of the state or municipality or that institution and then it must be left for general use. However, in practice, gifts are even up to 30 euros. values are returned regardless of matching criteria.
And who would have thought that it is useful to know the law when giving business gifts. In order for an item to become a gift, a very important aspect is the gifting process, which seems to give the gift an additional value of happiness. However, the process of giving depends only on our own efforts. Therefore, in order to fulfill the elements of surprise and delight, it is important to pay special attention to the gifting process.
Recently, it is often heard that companies spoil their customers and partners with entertainment coupons on the occasion of major holidays. We ask Živiles: Is it possible to give entertainment and service coupons as business gifts?
Živilė: The etiquette of gift-giving that came from the West made the entire gift-giving process very "understandable", we started to look at gifts quite practically. In the past, a list of wedding gifts for guests or adding a receipt to a gift that could then be returned was unthinkable. It goes against gift giving etiquette, but it's coming into fashion. In this case, there is no moment of surprise, so it is necessary to maintain the other elements of the gift - a beautiful presentation. The more personal and warm a gift is, the better it is appreciated. Is it possible to give coupons? Yes, a gift card can get you out of a situation, but it won't be the best gift to show how hard we worked for solinezant.
Gift-giving etiquette in Lithuania would seem clear, but when cooperating with foreign countries, gift-giving etiquette changes and before sending or arriving with gifts, it is important to look into gift-giving etiquette in other cultures. So we ask Živile: What to pay attention to.
Živile: First of all, it should be noted that in some cultures gifts are more important than in others. All cultures Edward Hall, an American anthropologist in 1966. divided into two types ie high context cultures and low context cultures. Clarification - not high culture or low culture, it's high or low context. What does this mean? This means that at the beginning of business relations, when getting to know each other, representatives of high-context countries try to establish a personal relationship, knowledge about the person, his position in society, acquaintances and the like are important to them. Low-context people separate business relationships from personal ones, build business relationships, regardless of whether they know the interlocutor well. In high-context countries, which represent this context - Russia, all of Asia, China, Japan - gifts are very important, because they help establish relationships, show a relationship with the interlocutor. Meanwhile, in the whole low-context world, gifts are a certain attribute that does not change the course of the relationship. In high-context countries, gifts are more likely to be valuable, sometimes even binding. It strengthens the relationship and makes the partner more special. Therefore, it is very important to find out which country belongs to which context, then it is easier to understand what to give. In some countries, flowers are especially valued, so they are necessary when visiting for the first time, this is especially true in Sweden and Austria. You should also check when gifts are given in a specific country - at the beginning or end of the visit. We are used to giving gifts at the beginning of the visit, and for example the Scandinavians - at the end, before leaving.
When planning business gifts for calendar holidays, you should also pay attention to the dates. For example, in China, the new year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Therefore, you should congratulate your Chinese colleagues exactly then.
So do your homework and before traveling to your partners, do your research and check the context country you are traveling to. This will help you prepare and create a strong connection with your partner.
We already know what gifts to give as business gifts, but what are the most common mistakes and what should be avoided?
Živile: One should avoid turning a gift into a gift. Also, you should not discuss in advance with the recipient what he wants and when to deliver it. If a large, expensive item is presented, and we collect it together with the solinezant, then on the holiday day we add at least a small surprise to this gift, which the solinezant already knows about. It could also be a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The most important thing is that it's not just giving the thing away."
Very often we send and give business gifts to partners and friends, with whom we meet not only to discuss business issues, but also spend our free time. So how should we act in such a case, if we are collecting a business gift for a friend - a business partner?
Živile: Let's apply the same rules, refrain from personal gifts. Business gifts are usually given publicly and the gift will be seen by those around you. Therefore, it is better not to show personalities in the business world.
And how should business gifts be wrapped, it would seem that we will buy a bag and that's it? Živile recommends taking into account several aspects.
Živilė: People tend to remember the emotion they experienced. This also applies to the donation process. We remember what the gift looked like, how it was delivered. Although the packaging is a temporary gift, we will remember the impression for a long time. And that's what we aim for with business gifts. The moment of surprise is very important and it is the most important thing to pay attention to when thinking about gifts.
If you want to stand out, make an impression, it is advisable to avoid cheap, mass-produced packaging. Of course, sometimes they need to be used, and that's better than nothing. Recyclable boxes are very practical and are becoming popular as an alternative.
Business gifts, your business card, which can either cause particularly positive feelings and set you apart from many partners, or make you blush. Set aside time and budget for this, take an interest in your partners and give business gifts that will remind you of you. Try to become unique, according to Živilė, pay attention to the uniqueness of the gift. When giving a gift, we aim not only to please the other person, but also to be noticed, to stand out from others. However, the desire to break up should not be noticeable, the gift should not oblige and should not become a silent request. A gift should be given with a mood of thanks, but not with a request". Remember that nowadays it is very easy to choose a gift, you just have to choose from many ready-made gift offers, so good luck in your search!