IBJNews

ADELOWO: How you give (and receive) makes lasting impression

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

I ask you, does anyone really want a keychain or a jolly paperweight?

In these economic times, gifts in the workplace might not be necessary or expected, but they remain common—and often stressful for both giver and receiver.

To the gift givers I offer this advice: Think first. If you have to give the same thing to everyone, keep it smart, simple and useful. Nobody wants to think the company is wasting money on something that will be dropped in a drawer and forgotten.

If you can personalize your giving, try to remember conversations with the intended receivers where hobbies, goals or family were mentioned. You don’t want to be the equivalent of the boss in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” who gave a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.

Better to give something that is an immediate reflection of the gift giver as well as the recipient. At the risk of sounding obsessive, I recommend keeping a staff journal throughout the year as a reference to specific successes and interests. A budding writer might find a journal beneficial, a travel enthusiast would appreciate a book about exotic destinations, and an avid coffee drinker would enjoy a local coffee shop gift card or festive coffee beans.  

The most interesting gift Mark Thacker of Propelis Consulting received from a client was a book about his faith. That’s a tricky line to walk, but it worked for him.

“My faith means a lot to me,” recalls Thacker. “[The client] listened enough that he thought about the gift.”

Susan Elser of Elser Financial Planning LLC likes to keep gift giving simple and tasteful.

“When I want to send a gift, typically I send a fresh white flower arrangement. It looks nice in a room with any color scheme and seems to be appreciated by all.”

While money spent is less important than the thoughtfulness put into it, know that employees and business associates will chat in passing and perceive value differences between the gifts. Ask yourself: What message am I sending by giving what I give?

On the other side, remember that the recipient has a responsibility, too. Giving gifts isn’t obligatory, but acknowledging a gift received should be. And gratitude is mandatory.

My recommendation is always to open gifts privately. But if that isn’t an option, be sure your emotions are in check and be mindful of your facial expressions. No matter what the package contains, show appreciation for the thoughtfulness and generosity shown. Even a joke gift needs a thank you (even if accompanied by an appropriate eye roll).

And, of course, send a thank you note.

Sara Johnson, leadership and executive coach at Perspective LLC, writes thank you notes to employees all year long. They aren’t forced. She simply takes the time to recognize hard work and results when they happen. But in this season for giving, she also offers an office volunteer day to build camaraderie and celebrate the season together. If such an event is scheduled for your workplace, participate with the appropriate spirit of the season.

And just remember that, while it may be better to give than to receive, how you do both says a lot about you. Happy holidays!•

__________

Adelowo is the founder of ImageCube LLC (www.imagecubellc.com), and a certified image consultant of the Association of Image Consultants International. She can be reached at sadelowo@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

ADVERTISEMENT