Business Traveller – The Business of Gifts









Everyone likes to get gifts, and business associates are no exception – but what gifts are appropriate?

Gifts are given frequently and are important in the chain of favor-and-obligation which is part of all Japanese relationships. Politeness may require that the recipient first decline the gift; the giver may have to offer it three times. Since gifts are never opened in the presence of the giver, the presentation is of equal importance. Proper gift wrapping is vital. Gadgets are popular gifts.

South Africa
By and large, gift-giving is infrequent among businesspeople. However, when invited to someone’s home, you can bring something edible, especially to informal gatherings.South Africa’s various cultures have very different traditions. In the Black and Colored (Asian and mixed-race) communities, do not present a gift with the left hand – use the right hand or both hands. Gifts are usually opened immediately.

U.S. businesspeople give out many promotional items, which are not gift-wrapped. Formal gift-giving amongU.S. executives is usually limited to Christmas/Hannukah and commemorative events. SomeU.S. executives who deal with foreigners have learned to give gifts on other occasions. Gadgets are popular, and gifts may display a corporate logo. Gifts are opened immediately.

Gift-giving habits vary amongSwitzerland’s three major linguistic groups. Quality and craftsmanship are appreciated, but gifts must not be mistaken for a bribe. Small, tasteful gifts are preferred over the large and ostentatious. Crafts or folk art from your home region are respected. Gifts are usually opened immediately.

Hospitality is important, but gift-giving is not universal among businesspeople. Secretaries at Brazilian companies can be very helpful, and a gift of a scarf or perfume is a good way to express appreciation. However, gifts to members of the opposite sex can be misinterpreted; a man should say “This is from my wife” when giving a gift to a woman. Be cautious about gifts with a green-and-yellow color scheme, which represents the national colors. Gifts should be stylish.

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