Gift Giving is not a usual part of British business etiquette, although reciprocation is good practice when gifts are received. Some organisations are encouraged not to accept any form of gift and some are prevented from doing so on legal grounds. However, where a gift is offered, it is important to ensure that it is not expensive enough to be considered a bribe or so inexpensive as to be considered an insult.
There is a large range of suitable gifts to choose from: company greeting cards, pens, books, diaries, alcohol, flowers, souvenirs from the visitors’ country or invitations to a cultural event etc. If a gift is received in public, it is advisable to open it immediately and express your gratitude to the giver.
Usually, the successful conclusion of negotiations presents an ideal opportunity for gift giving. Here the meaning is an acknowledgement of the occasion. Ideally, such gifts will be gold, silver or porcelain and it is important to consider the suitability of the gift and the taste of the recipient. It is not usual to exchange business gifts at Christmas; however, it is still good practice to send a greetings card to express thanks to your business counterparts.
If you receive an invitation to dinner or a party at the home of one of your business colleagues, it is normal to bring a bottle of wine and possibly a small gift such as flowers or chocolates. When giving flowers beware that red roses (which signify romantic intentions) and white lilies (which express grief and are used for funerals) are best avoided.