In this piece, we shall consider some unspoken norms of giving and receiving a gift in the corporate world:

  • Even though your intentions may be honest and it may just be a small gift, if the client firm objects to receiving any gift, giving a gift should be avoided. It will be inappropriate on your part to force a gift on the person.
  • Conversely, if receiving a gift makes you feel slightly uncomfortable or you believe it can cause some damage to an important business relationship, it is correct to refuse the gift, but in an appropriate manner.
  • Do not ever think of recycling a gift that you have received, at least, within the same circle of friends or else you will be caught. (Remember, that TV commercial of the same gift changing hands, doing rounds of different homes, and ultimately landing with the first person who had gifted it, to start with.
  • On other hand, if you receive something that you know is not original, try not to look dejected or disappointed. Accept it with a smile on your face and set your mind to it. If you want to return the gift, do so without opening it, if possible.
  • Avoid the temptation of what the ‘generous’ giver has opted to gift. This gives the person the option of recycling the gift. In fact, it always makes sense to check your office policy on accepting any kind of gift from clients.
  • Though it might just be a small gift, if your company’s policy says that accepting any gift from the clients is not appropriate, it should be returned. If a gift from one of your business associates looks like a favor, it should be returned.
  • In certain cases, a giver might refuse to take the gift back. In such a case, do not make a coworker or a client feel embarrassed about giving. Keep a formal record of your correspondence, if any. Make sure you’ve notified the senior person in your office about the chain of events.

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