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Commentary Detail

Business Gifts Should be Small, High Quality Tokens
Commentary by: Anna Navarro
Aired December 13, 2007

A business gift can make you memorable or allow you to say "thank you" in a meaningful way. But you have to be careful the gift is appropriate.

Small, high quality, tokens are usually best. Large, expensive gifts can create awkwardness and sometimes more serious problems.

Sandyís story illustrates the point. Iíve fictionalized it to protect privacy and Iím telling it with permission.

She'd met Oscar at a professional conference. Afterward, they exchanged emails about some work issues of mutual interest.

Months later, Sandy started job hunting and approached Oscar for advice. He told her about an opening in his own organization, coached her how to handle the interview, and gave her a great recommendation.

She was enormously grateful. It was almost Christmas time, and she bought him a case of very expensive wine. It cost over $1000.

When it arrived at the office word got back to the person who hired Sandy. He cross-examined Oscar about what kind of relationship they had.

The incident really embarrassed Oscar. He returned the wine and after that, kept his distance.

Sandyís over-the-top gift damaged their collegial relationship. She would have been better off with a nice pen, note cards or even a single bottle of wine.

There are many situations when you may want to say "thank you" with more than words, or make an impression with a gift. You just have to be careful that, unlike Sandy, the gift doesn't end up backfiring.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Anna Navarro

Anna Navarro


Anna Navarro is the founder of Work Transitions, a nationwide organization dedicated to helping individuals find satisfaction and fulfillment in their work.


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