Business Gifts

The giving of business gifts is big business.

Photo credit: oh.lcms.org

The choice of a gift can convey power, sophistication, knowledge, and interest. It can enhance or harm a corporate image. Unfortunately, however, in most business gift giving any matching of the gift to the actual desires of the recipient is, at best, approximate. Glassware covered with huge logos, shiny trays of unknown metals, samples of product, petite daily planners, and calendars that give you a different view of water tanks or cement trucks each month are difficult to accept with genuine pleasure.

From gifts for the chairman of the board to multiple incentive and logo gifts, the selecting and giving of business gifts is a difficult job which seems to be delegated to someone else whenever possible.

According to numerous studies, most companies give business gifts:  1. To express appreciation and  2. To develop business by building good will. Many companies give only at holiday time; others also give gifts on special occasions. The more public relations-oriented businesses recognize that an ongoing gift program is a significant aspect of communication as well as an advertising, branding, and marketing tool.

Try to select something that is both appropriate for the intended receiver and relevant to your company. A gift that ties in with your business, product, or sponsored event can be a most effective gift. Bantam Books has given Tiffany’s crystal rooster, sheet cakes decorated like book covers, specially designed gold and silver book marks, and a quilt made up of visual elements from a famous author’s books. A Houston company produced a beautiful coffee table book of photographs of the city. Only very close examination revealed that the unifying feature was the company headquarters tower; it appeared, however minutely, in each shot. You can also show a lot of thought by tying the gift into your business or tie your business into an exciting product, i.e. an excellent bottle of wine or champagne bearing your logo, maybe with crystal goblets. Remember the right  gift can be a wonderful marketing tool; the wrong one will send the wrong message.


As multiple gifts must satisfy the needs of many different types of people, this category of gifts is often the most perplexing. Some companies have managed to solve this is in creative ways: from Washington state sending huge boxes of decorative holiday greens and candles early in the season; from Maine coast starting a tradition of sending a fresh lobster feast for a date  and place which the recipient selects; starting a tradition of sending a different angel or ornament or coffee table book each year.

Individual customers and clients especially appreciate any gift that reflects your interest in them as individuals. Examples include an appropriate membership or subscription; a antique map of their city, region, or country; something relating to their sports interest; something that adds to the recipient’s special collection or hobby; tickets for a special event; a favorite food; a donation in his/her name to a favorite charity, or a desk footstool for the manager who keeps his feet on his desk.

Certain important occasions in the lives of major clients should be acknowledged with a tasteful gift. Although gifts can be an added expense, they can also be an excellent investment. The birth of a baby, a client’s marriage (or his/her child’s),  a hospitalized customer, or a retiring friend all merit your attention.

People will definitely remember those gifts that show them you know what they do and remember what they care about.


Most gifts for employees fall neatly into the categories of service awards, incentives, holiday or retirement. Those that do not fall into these categories usually require only your thoughtfulness and good judgment to be successful. Some management may consider a special holiday party, dinner or outing as a gift (a much better gift sometimes if families are invited); some give money to a charity or distribute gifts of food to the needy in the employees’ names; others give each employee the same gift—usually of food. Some executives prefer to give a small personal token to each employee in addition to the regular company gift. This is a thoughtful gesture that can make a significant impact on all employees and will be received with pride. And best of all—a personal note of thank you—with or without the gift.

A boss’s gift to his/her assistant should reflect the length of time the employee has worked for this boss, the amount of responsibility the person has, whether the employee also does personal favors , and—to some extent—the boss’s position or importance within the company.  When managers share a secretary or an assistant, a group gift is usually the best solution.


–Learn and abide by your company’s gift policy and culture and learn the culture and policies of the recipient’s business.  Some companies do not allow employees to accept gift; others specify a minimum amount. A little research can make the gift selection process much easier.

–If your company policy does not allow you to accept gifts or places a limit on acceptable gifts, don’t be afraid to say so politely. Some companies have a conflict-of-interest agreement that includes gift policies.

–When possible and appropriate, give a gift that is useful or practical.

–Remember that wrapping, presentation and thoughtful personal message are of great importance.

–Select gender-neutral gifts.

–Consider a non-material gift, such as volunteering your time for the other person’s or company’s cause or helping with their charity event. These gifts say something special about the giver and are more memorable.


–Ever send an inexpensive gift with a large logo.

–Send a gift while in contract negotiations.

–Give a “too-personal” or suggestive business gift, such as lingerie.

–Send a gift to someone you have never done business with or to a former client (might look like bribe).

–Give a gift in lieu of a salary increase or promotion—especially if either was deserved.

–Misspell someone’s name or give the wrong title.

–Send a lavish or extravagant business gift.

Listen HERE to Dawn discuss  Offices Parties on Success EXpress magazine and program

The Perfect Pumpkin for Cooking or Carving


 Dawn Bryan Founder of Qualipedia Offers Tips Far Beyond Pumpkin Pie and Jack-O-Lanterns

NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 29, 2013 – Pumpkin production, which climbed to more than 1.5 billion pounds in 2012, reaches its peak in October as Americans prepare to celebrate Halloween. As pumpkins have become ingrained into our Halloween and Thanksgiving cultures, the number of creative ways to use and enjoy them has increased.

Dawn Bryan, author of the best-selling book The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving, the recently published Elite Etiquette, and founder of Qualipedia™ the definitive source for making choices daily that count, offers the following tips including how to grow, pick, carve, eat, store, use for activities, along with some wacky facts.

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin:

·         A mature pumpkin will be difficult to scratch, bright orange, have a green stem and be fully hardened.

·         A shiny skin indicates that it was picked too soon

·         For Eating: Look for a pumpkin which feels heavy for its size, as it will tend to have more dense, edible flesh.

·         For Painting: The best pumpkins for painting have smooth skin and shallow ribbing. The varieties Orange Smoothie, Cotton Candy, and Lumina are excellent for painting.

·         For Carving: Choose a pumpkin with structural strength, flat bottom, sturdy stem, and ability to last several days after being carved. It will sound hollow when tapped.

 Carve Pumpkins:

·         Carving pumpkins can be accomplished with a variety of tools such as regular kitchen knives.

·         However, in recent years inventors have patented tools made solely for this purpose; in addition to the cutting tools, some kits contain design templates and detailed instructions.

·         Choosing specialty pumpkins such as giant, miniature, unusual shapes, or white pumpkins (spooky) can add to the originality.  The most popular carvings are of the Jack-O-Lantern variety.

·         To carve a good Jack-O-Lantern, you need grease pencils for pre-marking; patterns — your own or those you can download from the internet; gutting spoons for scooping; a long, thin-bladed boning knife to cut out the top and other large pieces; and a very sharp small paring knife for detail work.

Growing Pumpkins:

·         A seasonal, warm weather crop, pumpkins require warm soil that holds water well and at least one bee hive per acre for adequate pollination.

·         Milk-fed Pumpkins: Feeding your pumpkin milk helps to grow a larger pumpkin. Although milk does not have any properties that directly increase pumpkin size, it keeps your pumpkins healthy and free of disease.

·         There are three ways to milk-feed your pumpkin:

o   Wick: Pour two percent milk with a tablespoon of sugar into a small covered pan or bowl, insert one end of wick or string into a small slit in the pumpkin stem and the other into the pan which is in a small hole next to the pumpkin.

o   Injection: You can also use a syringe to inject the milk into the stem.

o   Pour: Use milk as fertilizer by mixing with manure or pour a cup of milk around the roots daily.

Pumpkins for Food:  

·         Pumpkins have become a part of the cuisine of many countries throughout the world: Roasted with other vegetables in Australia and New Zealand, in tempura in Japan, for ravioli stuffing in Italy, as a cooked vegetable in China, and served as a sweet dessert in Thailand, India, and the Middle East.

·         Eat only when ripe.

·         Fresh pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, micro-waved, or roasted and is frequently mashed or pureed before combining it with other ingredients.

·         Desserts include pumpkin pie, crème brulee, mousse, gingerbread, cupcakes, and cheesecakes.

·         Other favorites include the pumpkin martini, sweet and sour pumpkin, and pumpkin soup.

Store and Preserve:

·         Store in a cool dry place (45 to 60 °F) for up to a month or refrigerate for up to three months.

·         Extra pumpkin for eating can be frozen, canned or dried for longer storage. Freezing is the easiest and results in the best quality product.

·         Carved pumpkin will begin to dry and shrivel as soon as it’s cut. To slow down the dehydration process and deter the onset of mold, coat all cut surfaces as well as the entire inside of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly. Coat the eyes, nose, and mouth or any other design you have carved out.

Health Benefits:

·         Pumpkins:  Fat-free, cholesterol free, a good source of vitamin C and an excellent source of vitamin A; the bright orange pumpkin shouts that it is loaded with antioxidants.

·         Pumpkin Seeds are excellent sources of fiber and rich in vitamin A and potassium.  They are also packed with protein, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins E and B.

New Book, Elite Etiquette, Cracks The Culture Codes

Renowned cultural coach Dawn Bryan publishes book revealing informative protocols for strengthening business and social relationships

 New York – July 23, 2013 - Quality expert and best-selling author, Dawn Bryan goes beyond the traditional rules of “etiquette” to explain the often unvoiced, assumed customs and terminologies that are a sign of belonging and a way of expressing respect within a culture. The first book of its kind, this comprehensive guide provides the reader with the social behaviors needed to communicate within various lifestyles.

Going to a formal banquet, a golf tournament, a wine tasting, the opera, or an unfamiliar religious ceremony or celebration? Have you been asked to make a toast, host a business luncheon, join an aficionado for cigar smoking, meet at a sushi bar, or attend an art auction? Are you traveling for the first time on a yacht, private plane or helicopter? Or do you just need to know how to open a champagne bottle or the correct way to eat lobster, artichoke, soup, escargot, pomegranate, bone marrow or spaghetti?

Categorically and concisely, Elite Etiquette explains everything you: Need to Know; May Want to Know; May Find Helpful to Know; and Must Not Do. With wisdom and wit, the author gives you the information you need to feel comfortable wherever you are. The book is ideal for hosts, guests, and spectators seeking advice for the appropriate conduct, dress, courtesies and guidelines, which will expedite almost any business or social situation.

Elite Etiquette is available now: Paperback: http://amzn.to/17lyvGd, Kindle: http://amzn.to/10lLfZ3

Related Links: Dawn Bryan on E! Entertainment: http://youtu.be/9ezTf–iQo8
About Dawn Bryan         

An authority on quality, protocol, gift giving, and conscious choice, and founder of The Qualipedia.com. Dawn Bryan has taught cultural competence to global businesses, foreign service diplomats at the University of Shanghai and MIT business school students. She has coached a broad range of people from financial services executives, airline industry CEOs, executive staffs of legendary music moguls and rap artists. Her impressive career includes being selected spokesperson/consultant on international protocol and gift giving for many luxury brands, including Neiman Marcus, Hammacher Schlemmer, American Express, Diners Club, and Waterford Wedgwood. She is author of the best-selling book, The Art & Etiquette of Gift Giving (Bantam Books), and has written many articles and columns on quality, gift giving, and protocol. These have appeared in Business Week, Vogue, Town & Country, as well as bride, business and travel magazines. She has won numerous awards, including The Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2006) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, for her pioneering and extensive work with the cause.

Learn more at TheQualipedia.com

Dawn Bryan on FOX CT on Wedding Toasts

Click HERE to watch  Dawn on FOX CT  discussing  Wedding Toasts do’s and don’ts

Dawn on FOX CT

Podcast: Cracking the Code on Elite Etiquette – Jennings Wire

Please enjoy a recent podcast interview with Dawn Bryan and Annie Jennings of Jennings Wire on proper etiquette.


Highlights from the conversation include:

  • How would you define “etiquette” for the 21st Century? What is Elite Etiquette?
  • What are some of the unspoken, unwritten rules, customs and traditions? When do they apply?
  • What if you make an embarrassing protocol mistake in your business communications?
  • In new experiences, what do most people worry about doing wrong?
  • Why do some businesses ask to have a MEAL with a job candidate before making an offer?
  • What does the gift you give say about you? How is it a reflection of who you are as a person?
  • Why is it important in this rapidly changing, social media world to learn about etiquette and protocol?

Listen to the full podcast HERE

Full article HERE



Your gift is a reflection of your thoughtfulness and of your interest in the recipient.
Whether graduating from high school, college, or other institution of higher learning, your graduate will soon be making major life changes. You can recognize that significance with a gift which commemorates the event itself; provides practical assistance for a move; supports a new job or career; or encourages her/his interests. This gift can be memorable without being expensive.
TO COMMEMORATE: Photos/videos of the graduation and festivities; Frame for graduation photo , school song or motto perhaps with date engraved; Silver serving spoon, ladle, cup, tray, bowl, bar accessories engraved with date; Fountain pen engraved with date; Collage of newspaper and magazine headlines of interest from that date; Class ring; Crystal objects, such as goblets, small trays, bowls, bookends, plaques etched with date or graduation invitation; Personalized leather-bound atlas with date engraved; engraved jewelry

TO ASSIST WITH MOVE TO DORM OR APARTMENT: Luggage with tags bearing name and new address; Small refrigerator; Electric blanket or sheet; Canvas director’s chair; Handsome corkscrew and bar accessories; Attractive and comfortable floor pillows; Subscription to hometown newspaper; Laundry Bag; Portable bookcase; Coin bank filled with quarters; Desk lamp; Ice chest; Bookends; Gift Certificate for two or more to special restaurant in new town; Airtight container for storing food; Small appliances, such as travel iron, battery-operated vacuum; Organizers, such as footlockers that can double as seats or coffee tables; Monogrammed robe; Posters related to recipient’s interest; Gift certificate to school bookstore; Car parking, car washes, or car insurance for semester; Sewing kit; Tickets home for the holidays.

TO SUPPORT A NEW JOB OR CAREER: Reference books, such as law or medical texts, or “To Be Sure You Know Before You Go” the newly published ELITE ETIQUETTE; Monogrammed portfolio or briefcase; Subscription to professional journal, such as The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, or Advertising Age; Membership in professional or alumni association; Thermal water pitcher and glass for desk; Gift certificate to dental, medical, culinary, architectural, etc. or any other job-related supply house; Desk accessories, including picture frames with favorite family or pet photo; Membership to health club near new office.


TO ENCOURAGE HER/HIS INTERESTS: If graduate is interested in art or literature, give book or work of art which may increase in value while she/he enjoys them: If interested in investing, start an investment fund or open an IRA; If interested in outdoor activities  give trip with sporting interest–fishing, skiing, mountain climbing, back packing, canoeing; If interested in history, give trip with historical interest–Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., the Alamo, battlegrounds; If interested in sports or health, give membership in local tennis, golf, shooting, health club and/or lessons; If interested in theatre, concerts, opera, give season subscription and/or binoculars or opera glasses; and give local courses, lessons or seminars in any area your graduate is interested in.

Dawn Bryan Featured on Big Blend Radio Talking About Elite Etiquette

Listen to Dawn on Big Blend Radio discussing her new book Elite Etiquette.

Elite Etiquette book cover_BROWN


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