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Article: The art of giving: thoughtful gifts for clients and colleagues on business trips

Die Kunst des Schenkens: Durchdachte Geschenke für Kunden und Kollegen auf Geschäftsreisen

The art of giving: thoughtful gifts for clients and colleagues on business trips

In the business world, gifts for customers, business partners or colleagues are part of good manners. They are customary on special occasions such as company anniversaries and birthdays, at Christmas or at business meetings. In this way, you express your appreciation for the business relationship and say thank you for the good cooperation.

Gifts chosen with sensitivity help to maintain good relationships. However, as social interactions, they also harbor the risk of mistakes that can damage the business relationship. Particularly in an international context, you must observe the specific gift etiquette in each case.

Culinary, artisanal or cultural gifts - tips for choosing

It is not only the value of the gift that counts for the business partner. They will also notice how much effort you have put into the selection. Think about what the recipient might enjoy. This is easier if you know them and their interests. Otherwise, fall back on traditional gifts. The self-promotion of your company should not be the focus.

Regional culinary specialties are popular. Whether alcoholic or animal products are desirable depends on the lifestyle and religion of your business partner. High-quality writing instruments, everyday accessories, handicraft items or cultural gifts such as concert tickets are also suitable as business gifts. Avoid gifts that are too personal, such as perfume and jewelry.

The value depends on the importance of the business relationship. It should not be too high so as not to embarrass the recipient and avoid any suspicion of corruption. Enclose a handwritten card with a few personal words to show your appreciation.

Business gifts for colleagues

Gifts for colleagues and employees are common in companies on special occasions. Take care not to disadvantage individual colleagues through inappropriate differences in value. An internal company guideline that defines a cost framework for each occasion is recommended.

Special interests are often known and can be taken into account when deciding on a gift. Otherwise, choose a neutral gift. If employees want to give their boss a gift, it is best to do so as a team. This prevents the suspicion that individual colleagues are trying to gain an advantage.

Customer gifts and souvenir ideas for international business trips

Before you travel to another country on business, find out about regional customs. Due to cultural differences, not every gift is appropriate. There are also differences in terms of when and how gifts are presented.

You can only build a respectful business relationship if you respect regional traditions. In any case, avoid gifts that could be associated with political or religious issues. Also find out what value is appropriate for business gifts in the respective country.

Gifts for business partners in Europe

In Western European countries, the differences to German customs are not great. Culinary specialties that are not available in the recipient's country are a good choice, as are high-quality items made in Germany. If you want to give flowers as a gift, pay attention to the symbolism. Chrysanthemums or yellow roses can evoke undesirable associations in some countries.

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In Eastern Europe, business and customer gifts should show appreciation to the host, but not be too extravagant. Souvenir ideas include German handicrafts, high-quality chocolates, wine and spirits, preferably in an attractive gift box. Avoid sharp objects such as knives or corkscrews. Make sure you make eye contact when presenting the gift.

Gift etiquette in the Arab world

Alcohol is taboo in Arab countries. Make sure that the gifts are halal. Luxurious and elegantly packaged everyday items are appreciated, often with personalized engraving. Gourmet sets with tea, coffee and fine sweets are also suitable as business gifts.

Neither the gift nor the packaging should depict dogs. The gift is presented at the end of the meeting, always with the right hand. Do not give gifts directly to representatives of the opposite sex. In this case, ask a colleague to do so.

Gift and souvenir ideas for Asian countries

When giving business gifts to recipients in Asian countries, avoid sharp objects and the number 4, as this can have negative connotations in many regions. For example, do not give away sets of four. The number 8, on the other hand, is often seen as a lucky number. Careful packaging is important. In most countries, gifts are presented with both hands and a slight bow.

In India, refrain from giving alcohol, non-vegetarian food and items made of cowhide. In China, always present a business gift to the highest-ranking company representative. Do not give watches as gifts here, as these symbolize the end of a person's life. Souvenir ideas include items from local arts and crafts or illustrated books.

Useful gifts are well received in Japan. However, you should not give the impression that you know too much about the recipient. Avoid depictions of foxes or badgers. Beautiful packaging is important, possibly in a typical Japanese furoshiki cloth. Gourmet sets and high-quality office accessories are welcome customer gifts.

For partners in South Korea, gifts should be of high quality but not too large. Handicrafts, delicacies and luxury household and stationery items are popular. If you write an accompanying card, do not use red ink.

Giving gifts to customers and business partners in America and Australia

For business trips to the USA, Canada or Australia, customer gifts do not have to be extravagant. Specialties from Germany as well as personalized accessories and gadgets are popular. Restaurant vouchers and cultural gifts such as concert tickets are also suitable.

In Latin American countries, business relationships are often more personal or less formal. The family is very important, so you can also bring small gifts for the children when visiting the business partner's home. Avoid the colors black and purple for packaging.

No legal problems with business gifts

When giving gifts in a business context, make sure that you are not suspected of corruption. The individual situation, the status of the recipient and the general purchasing power and customs in the respective country all play a role here.

Many companies therefore have a compliance guideline for the value of business gifts for different countries. Within Germany, this is often 50 euros, which corresponds to the possible business expense deduction. Find out more about this topic and seek tax advice.

Conclusion: perfecting the art of gift-giving

Business gifts are an important part of cultivating relationships at both national and international level. Show sensitivity when making your choice. Through experience, you will learn to perfect the art of gift-giving and thus strengthen your business relationships in the long term.

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