Considerations for International Business Gifts

Considerations for International Business Gifts

Travelling internationally for your job can be a lot of fun. It’s a chance for you to meet new people, make new connections and see new places. To leave a positive and memorable impression on those you’ve met during your business travels, it’s often a good idea to offer a gift as a way to say “Thank you for your hospitality” before you depart to go back home.

Gift giving can be a little confusing when you’re doing business in another country or culture, so I want to share with you some considerations for gift giving internationally.

Choose a Mindful Gift

A mindful gift means a gift that will not be offensive to that person or their culture. Some basic gift ideas are: a book from your home country/town, handmade/gourmet chocolates, sweets or candy, a calendar, pens and other writing instruments, a coffee mug, or office memorabilia. I suggest you buy something from your home country before your trip to make it special and unique.

Wrap Your Gift Beautifully

For me, the wrapping is more important than the gift itself. The wrapping is the first thing they see when you present a gift to somebody – much like a first impression. Make an effort to wrap your gift with crisp folds and elegantly placed tape. If you are unsure how to elegantly wrap the gift yourself, ask the shop attendant to do it for you, or, a simple search on Google will bring up fabulous sites that explain how you can do it yourself.

Choose an Auspicious Colour For Your Wrapping

Many countries have lucky colours. In China, it’s red or gold. In India, it’s red, yellow or green. When you travel internationally for business, find out if the country you’re going to has a lucky colour and wrap your gift in that colour. This will add an extra element of joy for your recipient when they receive your gift.

Check That Gifts Aren’t Considered a Bribe

In some countries, you really have to be careful what type of gift you offer because some gifts may be considered a bribe or may not be allowed at all. Before you leave for your international business trip, I suggest you research that country’s culture, and also the company policy to find out if you can offer a gift and if the gift you would like to offer would be suitable.

Present Your Gift With Two Hands

In Asia presenting your gift with two hands is a must to convey respect to the other person. But I suggest you offer your gift in the same manner when doing business in other countries. Perhaps I’ve been too influenced by Japanese culture, but I genuinely feel that when you offer a gift with both hands, you show that you hold that person in high regard and it can really make them feel special.

Do you have any other gift ideas for international business travellers? Please leave your comments in the section below.

[Header image courtesy of koko-tewan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Graphics added by Kara Ronin.]

About Kara

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider India, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Daily Muse, Women 2.0, and more. Kara offers corporate seminars and online training programs on business etiquette, leadership skills, and executive communication around the world. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox