Preparing yourself for a formal business meeting or gathering requires a good working knowledge of the requisite information to be presented or discussed, proper attention to every minute detail on the circulated material, and well a carefully chosen gift.

A business gift is a gesture, which may be naturally expected in one country, whereas it can be seen as a blatant bribe in some other country. Some governments and some multi-national companies have strict policies when it comes to their employees accepting any sort of gift that can be seen as favor done to them.

To avoid creating an unnecessary problematic situation, it is imperative that you grasp the policy framework for the companies or countries you intend to do business with in the near future. For example, countries like Paraguay and Malaysia, acutely concerned with corruption, tend to frown upon a gift, which could well be construed as an open bribe.

You wouldn’t give one in a country like Malaysia until and unless you had firmly established a good relationship or rapport with the particular person or authority. Government employees in Singapore aren’t allowed to receive gifts. However, in few other countries such as the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia exchanging gifts is rooted in tradition. And part of it is the gracious way of presenting and receiving them. It is vital to plan in advance and focus on the very process instead of simply deciding upon the present.

It is important, for example in the Middle East and many Asian countries to only offer the right hand, or also both hands, while presenting or accepting a gift. In Hong Kong and Japan, use both the hands. A recipient in Singapore may even opt to ‘graciously refuse three times’ before deciding to accept it so do not feel offended or perplexed, whereas gifts are accepted and opened immediately in Chile. Small gifts are regularly given in Indonesia.

Be aware of such finer points including social nuances, behavioral patterns and formal etiquette, while finalizing your corporate gifting plan for your international clientele.

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