Business Etiquette 101: The Dos and Don’ts of Gift Giving

Gift Giving

Corporate gift-giving is an essential aspect of business etiquette that can help build and maintain strong relationships with clients, employees, and partners. However, improper gift-giving practices can lead to misunderstandings, awkwardness, and even legal issues. Here are the dos and don’ts to remember to ensure a successful and appropriate corporate gifting experience.


1. Understand the Recipient’s Culture

Different cultures may have different traditions, values, and preferences regarding gifts. For example, in some Asian cultures, giving a clock or a knife as a gift is considered disrespectful. On the other hand, some Western cultures appreciate wine or gourmet food as gifts. Researching the recipient’s culture can help avoid unintentional offense and show respect.

2. Consider the Company’s Gift Policies

Many organizations have policies regarding gift-giving and receiving. Some companies may limit the gift’s value or prohibit employees from accepting gifts altogether. Familiarizing yourself with the recipient’s company policies is crucial to avoid any potential ethical or legal issues.

3. Customize and Personalize the Gift

A personalized gift can leave a lasting impression and show that you have put thought into your selection. Consider customizing your gift with the recipient’s name or company logo. Alternatively, choose a gift that reflects the recipient’s interests or hobbies, such as a book on a relevant topic or a gadget that complements their work.

4. Include a Heartfelt Note or Message

A handwritten note or message can add a personal touch to your gift and express your sentiments more effectively than a pre-printed card. Keep the tone professional and express your gratitude or appreciation genuinely.

5. Be Mindful of Timing

Choose an appropriate time to give your gift, such as during a holiday season, at the end of a successful project, or on a special occasion like a work anniversary. Avoid giving gifts during sensitive times, such as during contract negotiations or when the recipient is experiencing personal or professional challenges.


1. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

After giving your gift, follow up with the recipient to ensure they received it and express your appreciation again. A simple email or phone call can help solidify your relationship and demonstrate your commitment to their success.

2. Don’t Give Overly Extravagant or Personal Gifts

Giving an overly extravagant gift can make the recipient feel uncomfortable and may be perceived as bribery. Similarly, giving a personal gift, such as clothing, jewelry, or perfume, may be inappropriate or invasive. Stick to professional and neutral gifts that reflect the nature of your business relationship.

3. Don’t Forget to Check Local Laws and Regulations

In some countries, strict laws and regulations surround corporate giifting. For example, government officials or employees in some regions may not be allowed to accept gifts. Research the local laws and regulations to avoid any legal trouble.

4. Don’t Give Cash or Cash Equivalents

Giving cash or cash equivalents, such as gift cards or vouchers, can be perceived as impersonal or even as a form of bribery. Instead, opt for a tangible item that conveys thoughtfulness and appreciation.

5. Don’t Be Overly Promotional

While it is acceptable to incorporate your company logo or branding into the gift, avoid making it the main focus. The primary purpose of corporate gifting is to express appreciation and strengthen relationships, not to advertise your business.


Corporate gifting is a valuable opportunity to strengthen business relationships and express appreciation for the hard work and dedication of clients, employees, and partners. By adhering to these dos and don’ts, you can ensure a successful and appropriate gift-giving experience that reflects positively on your business and leaves a lasting impression.

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