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How to Pick the Perfect Business Gift

According to, here’s the skinny on picking the best, no perfect, business gifts…just in time for your Christmas party!


by Ross McCammon | | Nov 16, 2013

The best business-related gift I ever received was the most surprising gift I ever received. An associate called ahead to a nice restaurant he knew I’d be eating at with friends and told the maitre d’ he wanted to buy us a round–anything we wanted–at the end of the night. When the waiter informed us, we asked him to order for us; he brought us three very interesting scotches. No drink has ever tasted better.

That gift defined the evening–it made it memorable. It was a kind gift. And it was a risky gift, considering he left the ordering to us. But most important, it was a selfless, thoughtful and surprising gift. Which is what every gift should be. If it’s not all three of those things, it’s not necessarily a bad gift, but it’s lacking. And if you’re going to go to all this trouble, why should it be lacking?

First, What Is It That You’re Up To?

Before you look for a gift for someone, it helps to ask yourself why you are getting this person a gift. Is it to reward good behavior? Is it to elicit future behavior? Is the gift-giving really just an act of bribery? Is it an attempt to secure goodwill that you might not otherwise receive?

Or a job? Or funding? Or some sort of favor? Or the promise to not file charges? The question is: Is your gift ulterior–consciously ulterior–in some way?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s not necessarily a problem. (Business demands that we test the limits of our moral codes from time to time.) But the point that needs to be made is: That’s not a true gift, but something else entirely. It’s bribery, or metaphorical back-scratching. And you might as well just go with expensive if you’re back-scratching, because the gift has already been corrupted.

What this is going to be about is: gifts. True gifts. The kind that are selfless, thoughtful, modest and surprising. And not necessarily expensive. (Which is nice.)

But What to Give? And Why? And When?

A Word About Gift Cards

Key Technical Matters

The Ascending Hierarchy of Popular Business Gifts

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