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Corporate Gift Items - how to say thank you

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Receiving and responding to corporate gift items

Choosing the right gift for a client or colleague can be a time consuming task that puts you under a lot of pressure. Getting the right thing, not too personal but not too indifferent which reflects the recipient’s worth is a difficult business. However, the protocol of giving corporate gift items does not stop when the gift is sent. There is also etiquette that needs to be observed upon receiving gifts.

Although corporate gift items should be sent freely with no return expected, general courtesy should still be applied. If someone takes the time to choose you a present, it is only polite to take the time to thank him or her. If the gift giving is done face to face at a social event then a verbal ‘thank you’ will suffice. However, if you’re given a corporate gift item independently of the rest of your colleagues, you need to write a thank you note to the sender within a week or so. Ensure it is handwritten as this is far more personal than a typed note and shows the sender you appreciated their gift.

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If you have been doing especially well at work, or have just completed a deal with a company you can expect to receive a gift and should not feel pressured to reciprocate. Unless it is a special occasion, or you have a special relationship with the giver, don’t feel obliged to return the gesture. However, a thank you note is always a requisite.

There are occasions where it may be appropriate to refuse a gift. Don’t be embarrassed about refusing corporate gift items that are too personal, sexually suggestive, too extravagant or that could be interpreted as bribery. It will ultimately be far more embarrassing and inappropriate to accept it. If this happens, the best thing to do is to politely return the gift and explain why you feel you have to do so.

Some companies have a policy on receiving corporate gift items, and you will be legally bound to adhere to this. Most companies place a limit on the value of the gift you are allowed to receive and if you are given something you suspect if worth more than that, you have to return it. Again, a polite note explaining that you cannot accept the gift due to company policy is unlikely to cause personal offence.