Tag Archives: holiday etiquette

The New Year is Thank You Note Season

Posted on by

Now that the holidays are almost over, and we find ourselves in the new year, it’s time to start sending out thank you notes for the thoughtful gifts and tasty treats you received during the season. Yes, I know, those are not the words you want to hear—especially since you know that I am talking about those handwritten notes that I continue to harp on. It would be so much easier and more convenient to text or email your gratitude. A few clicks of the keyboard, and you’re done.

However, when it comes to delighting those special gift-givers with the perfect sentiment at the perfect time, here are two things to consider:

  • Ink trumps email. Why? Ink implies effort.
  • Handwritten notes connect people in a way that simply isn’t possible via text or email. How? Your unique handwriting makes your message and therefore your relationship more personal.

Now that you understand the power of the handwritten note, what’s holding you back?

  • Is it the time? We all have the same number of hours and days.
  • Are you too busy? Everybody feels life is too demanding.
  • Do you lack the supplies you need? If you haven’t heeded my earlier advice and purchased appropriate cards or notes before the holiday rush, those items are still available. They do not sell out during the holidays.
  • Did you forget to buy stamps?  If so, no problem. The rush is over at the post office so pick up stamps while you’re out shopping for your stationary. Then write a note to self on your calendar for next fall that reminds you to buy your correspondence cards or notes and stamps early.

Finally, the greatest obstacle for most people is knowing what to say and how to say it? Those two things should be the least of your worries if you establish a process for writing your thank you notes and follow these steps:

Step 1. Decide how to address the recipient. Do you need to formal salutation or one that is casual? Are you going to call the person by first name or use their title and last name?

Step 2. Begin with “Thank you”. There’s no need to attempt anything more exotic than those two words.

Step 3. Name the gift specifically. Saying “Thank you for the gift’ is cold, off-putting and will make your recipients wonder if you value their gift or even know what it was. You might as well say, “Thank you for the thing.”

Step 4. Say something about the gift. What made it special? How will you use it? If someone sent your food items, tell them how much you either enjoyed the treats or how much you are looking forward to having them. Even if you are not thrilled with what you received, the giver need not know.

Step 5. Say how much you appreciate the thoughtfulness. This is really simple and always sincere. Who doesn’t appreciate being thought of?

Step 6. Choose your closing. Again…are you being formal or casual in your approach? Your salutation will determine your closing.

Think of your thank you note as a sandwich.

The opening and closing are the like the two slices of bread. Your thank you for the specific gift is the lettuce; the sentence about why you like the gift or how you will use it is the meat; the statement saying you appreciate their thinking of you is the cheese. Now wrap that in an envelope; garnish it with a stamp; and you have it. Just don’t forget to drop your handwritten thank you notes in the mail.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations, workshops and resources can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

 

Check Your Holiday Table Manners

Posted on by

The holidays have arrived. There is no doubt about it. Signs of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are everywhere.  In navigating the season, it’s hard to know what to focus on first. Is it planning for the office party, selecting gifts for clients and colleagues, decorating your workplace or sending those holiday cards?

Given that the holidays are all about parties, luncheons and dinners, I suggest as a next step brushing up on your table manners. Nowhere are manners more important than over meals. Table manners prevent us from being sloppy, offensive and boorish. They are part of communicating respect for others. They are not always hard and fast rules; rather they are guidelines to help us in our social and business relationships.

Here are a few reminders of what to do and not do at the holiday dinner and to help you brush up on your table manners:

Do reply to the invitation as soon as you receive it. A quick check of your calendar tells you if you are free or not. It’s not acceptable to wait around to see if a better invitation comes along.

Do what you say you will do. If you accept the invitation, show up. If you decline, you may not attend at the last minute. It’s that simple.

Do let your host know in advance of any food issues. If for cultural or health reasons you have limitations, your host should know ahead of time. However, don’t make this an issue for the person who was kind enough to invite you. He or she need not be responsible for preparing a special meal for you.

Do sit where you find your place card. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t particularly fond of where you are seated. Sit where you are told. Your host had reasons for the seating arrangement.

Do keep all personal belongings off the table. Your purse, even if it is small, does not belong on the table. Other items to keep out of sight are your keys and your cell phone. If you can’t bear to be absent from your phone during the meal, maybe you should have stayed at home.

Do remain seated during the meal. It is rude to act like a jack-in-the-box. If you must excuse yourself, do so between courses. Exceptions are coughing or sneezing fits. By all means, go before you ruin everyone’s meal.

Do wait to begin eating until everyone has been served, and your host has begun to eat. You don’t actually have to wait until the host has started to chew. Just keep in mind that this is not a race to the finish and there are no prizes for first place.

Do pace your eating so that you finish with everyone else. The slow eater is as annoying as the one racing to the finish.

Do make sure that you understand the basics of the place setting. It’s not as difficult as it seems. The basic rule is: Utensils are placed in the order of use; that is, from the outside in. A second rule, with only a few exceptions, is: Forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right. The exception is: The dessert fork and spoon are placed at the top of the place setting.

As always, good manners are most noticed by their absence.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations and workshops can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits. Kindness and courtesy can have an impact on your bottom line.

If you want more tips on table manners, order your copy of my Little Book of Table Manners – 85 Tips for Dining for Success.

 

 

 

 

The Handwritten Thank-You Note

Posted on by
Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes

Do you want to make a positive professional impression during the holidays?  Do you want to make your clients, customers and colleagues feel special?  Do you want to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons?  Then try sending a simple handwritten thank-you note to those who thought of you during the season.

Whether you received a gift, were included in a holiday party, were invited to a special meal, or were on the receiving end of an act of kindness, take time to recognize people’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

You may have been given a gift at the office party.  Perhaps a vendor delivered one in person. In both instances, you should have expressed your appreciation at the time. But go the next step and follow up with a handwritten thank-you note.

If the gift came by mail or some other form of delivery, it is even more important that you acknowledge it.  The person who sent it needs to know you received and appreciated it.

If the present came from an organization or a business group, you are not off the hook.  Some people think that when a supplier or vendor sends a gift, it doesn’t require any form of thanks.  Being the customer or client is no excuse for bad manners. 

When you were included in a holiday party or meal, always follow up with a written thank you.

Sending a handwritten thank-you note is not as daunting a task as some people make it out to be if you follow these tips.

  1. Purchase the appropriate stationery before you need it. In business, thank-you notes are traditionally written on message cards (5 x 3 ½) or correspondence cards (6 ¼ x 4 ¼) which are single white or ecru cards with your full name or monogram engraved at the top center. Another option is the fold-over note (5 ¼ x 3 ½). The front page is blank or has a monogram engraved in the center.
  2. Do not send the garden variety cards that have “Thank You” printed on the front if you want to appear polished.
  3. Keep some of your stationery on the top of your desk, as convenient as your phone and computer.  If you put it in a drawer, there is the temptation to “get to it later”.  Have your stamps next to your stationery. This assures that your notes will go out in a timely fashion—like that day or the next.

The format of a business thank-you note mirrors that of a general thank-you note. It’s simple.

  • Begin with a salutation.
  • Mention the gift, occasion or act.
  • Be specific by writing how you feel about it. What makes it special, useful or helpful?
  • Say “thank you”.
  • Compose a sentence that winds it up.
  • Add your closing.

A handwritten thank-you note trumps an email thank you every time. It gives the appearance of extra effort on your part and makes the recipient feel special. So do yourself and the generous person who sent the gift or who entertained you a favor.  Take five extra minutes to show your personal gratitude with a handwritten note. I promise that in today’s world, you’ll be among the few who do and you’ll long be remembered for your thoughtfulness and good manners.


Lydia Ramsey is a  business etiquette expert who believes it’s not about rules–it’s about relationships. She is keynote speaker, trainer and author of several books. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how she can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

Holiday Gift-Giving in the Office

Posted on by

Holiday gift-giving in the workplace is a thoughtful way of letting colleagues and clients know that you value the business relationship you share. But gift-giving comes with its risks. When a present is too expensive or is too personal, even the best intentions can backfire. Knowing the answers to the following questions will take the stress out of gift-giving in the office and enhance the joy of the season.  It is, after all, supposed to be a time of good cheer and not one of high anxiety.

  • Should you give a gift to everyone you work with?
  • Do you need to buy a present for your boss?
  • What are appropriate gifts?
  • How much should you be expected to spend?
  • When is the right time to present your gifts?
  • What if you can’t afford the gift exchange?

The first thing you need to do is find out if there is a company policy on holiday gift-giving. If the company doesn’t have one, this could be a good time to establish one or, at the very least, come up with guidelines within your own department.  If you work for a small business, decide with your co-workers how you want to handle this conundrum. And make sure that everyone is on board with the collective decision.

For religious, cultural or financial reasons, some people prefer not to engage in holiday gift-giving at work . Honor those people and make sure you have a process that allows individual to opt-in rather than opt-out. One way to do this is by passing around a sign-up sheet for those who want in. No pressure or judgment should be placed on those who don’t sign up.

Follow a process like “Secret  Santa”, and set a low dollar limit to make it easier for everyone to participate. After all, holiday time can be costly at best. Stay within the limits set. Just because you can afford more, going over the limit will not win you any friends.

Avoid giving inappropriate items such as clothing, fine jewelry or perfume to your co-workers. Save those for family and friends. Gag gifts are also on the banned list. Not everyone thinks the same things are funny so don’t give an item that could be offensive. You’ll have to work with the person you offended long after the holidays.

Appropriate gifts include foods like candy, cookies, jams and jellies, soaps, scented candles, books, and gift cards. One caution about gifts of food—don’t give candy or cookies to the person who is trying to diet.

Plan when you will engage in the holiday gift-giving in your office. You may choose to have an office party in-house or go off-site for a holiday luncheon or an after-hours party. If you want to give a special gift to a close colleague, do it outside the office, not in front of others. And certainly not at the office party.

When it comes to the boss, there is no obligation to give a gift. Sorry, boss. Gifting should flow downward, not upward. Consider this: the boss makes the most money and is the person who should be buying for employees. If everyone feels strongly about giving to the boss, set a dollar limit and collect a minimal amount from each employee. Don’t make an end run by giving the boss a present when everyone else in the office chose not to. That is one sure way to create conflict and ill will with your co-workers.

If a coworker or supervisor gives you an unexpected gift, don’t worry. Proper etiquette states that unexpected gifts do not need to be reciprocated. All that’s required is a friendly “Thank you!”

These rules for holiday gift-giving in the workplace are designed to make the process joyful and stress free. Don’t use them as an excuse to play Scrooge or the office Grinch.

Lydia Ramsey is a  business etiquette expert, professional speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how she can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Etiquette of Cold and Flu Season

Posted on by

etiquette expertTis the season to be jolly, but tis also the season for colds and flu. That makes it the season to practice the etiquette of cold and flu for your sake and that of others.

While you are spreading joy and goodwill, be careful that you are not spreading germs as well.

At this time of the year, we are most likely to find ourselves celebrating in large groups or traveling in close quarters as on planes, trains and buses. Now is when good manners and good health go hand in hand.

Here are twelve tips to keep yourself and others healthy and flu-free during the holidays and over the next few months.

  1. Get your flu shot. You are not only protecting yourself by doing so; you are also being considerate of others and sparing them the misery of this inevitable winter illness.
  2. Avoid the holiday party if you are sick. Staying at home is your seasonal gift. It’s one excuse the boss and co-workers will appreciate.
  3. Don’t prepare food for a party. If you are asked to bring a dish of some sort, buy one that is already prepared or store bought. Your flu germs should not be the secret ingredient.
  4. Double-dipping is a no-no under the best of circumstances but especially if you don’t feel well.
  5. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, awkward as it may seem. You will spread fewer germs that way. Coughing or sneezing into your hand offers a whole host of ways to pass on germs.
  6. Carry a supply of tissues with you. Carefully discard used ones and wash your hands.
  7. Wash your hands often. You can’t do it too many times all year long but particularly during flu season. Wash them before you eat or drink. Do it before and after you shake hands.
  8. Have hand sanitizer with you at all times. It is a quick and convenient way to prevent the spread of germs.
  9. Use your hand sanitizer to wipe off any work surfaces you touch to keep yourself and others safe.
  10. Don’t even think of shaking hands if you don’t feel well. Others will appreciate your saying, “Please forgive me for not shaking your hand, but I haven’t been feeling well.”
  11. Excuse yourself from the room or the table if you are having a coughing or sneezing fit. No one else needs to be subjected to your performance.
  12. Call in sick when you have a cold or the flu. You may not want to use up your paid time off or you may need to work on an important project, but you are not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by showing up ill.

Back to # 1: This tip cannot be over-emphasized. Get your flu shot so that you and those around you are protected from the miseries of the flu. The holidays and winter months should be enjoyed, not endured.

Who would have thought that there was indeed etiquette of cold and flu season?

You can find more helpful tips for the season in my ebook on holiday etiquette.

lydia_sm-e1393277822156Lydia Ramsey is business etiquette and modern manners expert, keynote speaker, seminar leader and author of Manners That Sell-Adding the Polish That Builds Profits. Based in Savannah, Georgia, she travels across the US and as far away as India and Dubai to work with clients that include universities, corporations, small businesses, associations and non-profit organizations. Her topics range from flip-flops to forks. Visit her website www.lydiaramsey.com for more information about her services and resources.

Holiday Business Etiquette Q & A

Posted on by

1It’s holiday time again, and as always, there are the usual confusing situations that present themselves. We spend a significant amount of this hectic time worrying about the details. I have gathered a number of the most frequently asked questions that I receive during the holidays from friends, family, clients and media. Prepare to find your issue (s) in the following holiday business etiquette Q & A.

Q: I spend enough time with my colleagues and boss at work. Do I really have to go to the office holiday party?

A: That is an unequivocal “yes.”. Attendance is mandatory. Don’t even consider not going unless you have a justifiable conflict. Show up, even if the thought of spending your precious off hours with co-workers and colleagues is less than appealing. The office party is part of your job. Its purpose is to bring together co-workers for a bit of camaraderie. If this is not your idea of a great time, then just consider it work, put on your best attitude and go.

Q: Is this a good time to ask the boss for a raise?

A: That is an unequivocal “no.”  Speak to your boss when you arrive and when you leave making sure that your manners and your presence are noted. This, however, is not the time to talk about business.

Q: Business-related gift-giving is so confusing. I never know what to give and to whom.

A:  It is not always easy to come up with the perfect present while following holiday business etiquette. Here are some tips:

—Follow corporate guidelines. Some companies have strict policies about what kinds of gifts, if any, their employees may receive. If you have any doubt, ask your clients or check with their personnel department.

—Consider your client’s interests. Perhaps your client has a favorite food or beverage. If you can’t determine this on your own, contact an assistant or associate.

—Be appropriate. Sometimes a gift can be taken the wrong way. Avoid anything that is even slightly intimate when giving to members of the opposite sex. A bottle of wine or liquor won’t be appreciated by a teetotaler or a country ham by a vegetarian. Also, keep in mind that what seems funny to one person could be insulting to another.

Q: What if I want to give special gifts to just a few close colleagues in my office and not others?

A:  Give your gift at a time and place away from the office and your other co-workers.

Q: Do I have to give the boss a gift?

A: My answer to that is another unequivocal no. The boss, whose salary no doubt exceeds yours, should give gifts to his or her staff, but not the other way around. Often members of a department will contribute to a pool for the boss’s gift. As a result, the boss ends up with the most elaborate or expensive gift of all.

Q: Should I send holiday greeting cards to business contacts?

A: Yes, and for four obvious reasons:
1. To enhance your current business relationships
2. To attract new customers
3. To remind previous clients that you exist
4. To show appreciation to those who are faithful supporters of you and your business

Q: Is it OK to send business contacts an electronic card?

A: It is not inappropriate to send e-cards, but they are not as effective as those sent by old-fashioned snail mail. The recipient will click on the URL, download the e-card, read it, smile and in all probability delete it. Consider, too,  that your electronic card may never make it through the client’s spam filter

For more in-depth information about holiday business etiquette, order a copy of  my e-book Business Etiquette for the Holidays – Building Relationships Amid the Perils of the Season.

Happy Holidays!

Lydia

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Seven Holiday Tips for the Polished Professional

Posted on by

1The holidays present opportunities and challenges. These seven holiday tips for the polished professional will guide you through the season.

1.  Holiday Greeting Cards When you send out greeting cards, sign each one personally and write a short note. .  Even if you have preprinted information on the card, your handwritten signature and a personal message will add warmth to your greeting.

2.  Sending E-cards In today’s high-tech world, the question about sending your holiday greetings by email always comes up. It is not rude to send e-cards, but they are not as effective as those sent by old-fashioned snail mail. Your cute and clever electronic message with singing Santas and dancing trees is a fleeting greeting. The recipient will click on the URL, download the card, read it, smile and, in all probability, delete it.

3.  The Office Party Attendance is mandatory. Don’t even consider NOT going unless you have a justifiable conflict. Show up even if the thought of spending your precious off hours with co-workers and colleagues is less than appealing. The office party is part of your job so put on your best professional attitude and go.

4.  Minding Your Table Manners During the holiday season there will be the usual round of business/social events including cocktail receptions, luncheons and dinners. Now might be a good time to brush up on your dining etiquette. Whether you are eating in a restaurant, the corporate dining hall or in someone’s home (like the boss’s), your table manners will be an indication of your professionalism and your polish. It really does matter which fork you use, how you eat your bread and where you put your napkin.

5.  Business Entertaining Over Meals The holidays are a good time to invite your clients and customers out for a meal. Because this is a festive occasion, it is not a time when you want to dwell on business. It is more of a time to work on building relationships. Entertaining your client over a meal requires that you have good conversational skills, confidence in social settings and first-rate table manners.

6.  Corporate Gift-Giving Follow the corporate guidelines. Some companies have strict policies about what kinds of gifts, if any, their employees may receive. If you have any doubt, ask your clients or check with their personnel department. Be creative. Look for items that are distinctive and different.  Make your gift stand out just as you want your company to stand out.

7.  Exchanging gifts with colleagues and co-workers Inner office gift-giving can often cause problems and confusion although it is well-intended. Everyone in the office or department should be in agreement as to how this will be done. Will each person be expected to have a gift for everyone else? Will there be a drawing for names so that only one gift needs to be purchased? Will a price range identified? In difficult financial times, consideration should be given to each individual’s circumstances. No one should be made to feel embarrassed if it is not the best time to enter the office pool.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

The Holiday Tipping Point

Posted on by

The holidays mean parties, shopping, cooking, decorating, greeting cards and gift-giving. They also mean tipping. And of course, I am not just speaking of the day to day tipping that goes on. I am referring to holiday tipping—the practice of giving an extra amount of money or a special gift to those who provide various services to you throughout the year. Those people might be your newspaper carrier, hairdresser or barber, housekeeper, pet sitter and the list goes. It is challenging to figure out whom to tip and how much.

Holiday tipping is a way of showing appreciation to those people who make your life easier and more pleasant. Start with a list of people you would like to feel your gratitude. Then follow these guidelines for mastering the art of tipping during the holidays.

* Tip according to the quality and frequency of the service rendered.
* Consider your own budget in determining the amount.
* Present a monetary tip in a card or a small gift with the cash inside.
* Give it personally whenever possible.
* Do it within the week of the holiday or shortly before.
* Offer it joyously.

Now that we’ve established the process, let’s consider who and how much. The following suggestions should help eliminate some of the confusion as well as the stress of holiday tipping.

* Housekeeper – an amoount equal to the cost of a visit
* Gardner – $20-$50
* USPS mail carrier – cash gifts are not acceptable so give a small $15-20 gift
* Newspaper carrier – daily $25; weekend $10
* Teachers, tutors, coaches and trainers for your children – small gift from your child
* Baby sitter – one night’s pay plus small gift from your child
* Full-time nanny – one week’s or one month’s pay depending on length of employment
* Dog groomer – the cost of a session
* Dog walker or sitter – one day to one week’s pay
* Nail technician- $15 – $20
* Massage therapist – $15- $20
* Hairdresser – the cost of a visit

The list goes on. If you live in an apartment building, there are legions of people to reward. If you belong to a private club, unless a single amount is collected to be distributed to all, there are servers, receptionists and activities personnel to be considered. Good judgment and an attitude of gratitude should be your guide.

When we think of tipping, we usually think of cash. However, if this is a difficult time and you can’t afford to give cash to all these people, make or bake a holiday gift. In some cases a simple handwritten note of thanks is sufficient. When times are better, you can be more generous.

The most important thing is to let these people know valuable their service and their relationship are to you.

Happy holiday tipping!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Holiday Etiquette – So Many Questions

Posted on by

iStock_000014394928XSmallThe holidays should be a joyful time, but with so much to do, both personally and professionally, ‘tis often the season to be stressed out. There are any number of  questions that might be drifting through your mind right now. Can you skip the office gala? Should you buy the boss a gift? How do you address the envelope to couples using different last names? Who pays for the business meal? Do you need to tip your pet sitter? The list goes on and on.

I can’t cover all the issues in one brief newsletter. For that you might want to check out my e-book on Business Etiquette for the Holidays. For now let me share a handful of helpful tips:

1)    The holiday office party is a mandatory event; not one that you can skip even if you don’t want to spend another minute with people from your office.

2)    Dress appropriately for the office party. This is not the time to wear your slinkiest and most revealing dress.

3)    Limit how much alcohol you drink at the party. Remember that wine, beer and other spirits tend to loosen the tongue.

4)    Decide ahead of time how you will handle gift-giving within the office. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the amount of money each is expected to spend on a gift or gifts.

5)    If you invite a client or co-worker to be your guest for a holiday meal, you pay the bill.

6)    Thank you notes for holiday gifts are as obligatory as the office party. They need to be handwritten to be effective.

7)    Sending your clients e-cards is a waste of your time and effort although they don’t require much of either. Your client may or may not open your email; and if they do, they will read and then hit “delete.” A paper greeting will live on and be remembered much longer.

8)    Make sure to personally sign your printed holiday cards. Otherwise they will come across as impersonal as an e-card.

9)    When you are invited to dinner at someone’s home, take a small gift to your host. If you choose to take wine, make sure your host drinks. Flowers are appreciated, but only if they arrive in a vase that does not have to be returned. Don’t expect your host to drop everything and hunt for the proper vessel for your flowers.

10) When it comes to toasting at a holiday event, never raise a glass or drink to yourself if you are the recipient of the toast. Return the kindness and toast the person who toasted you.

Bonus tip: Smile during the holidays. It is a happy time to be enjoyed by all.

13-0811 Lydia Ramsey eBook Cover smallFor the detailed version of holiday etiquette, remember that my e-book is available to you in The Manners Store on my website and on Amazon in the Kindle Store. It’s the least expensive gift you can give yourself or someone else whom you would like to see succeed in business. The cost is $2.99, and shipping is free.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

The Etiquette Rules for Corporate Gifts

Posted on by

Chapter 4Choosing a gift for your colleagues and clients during the holiday season can be a challenging task. It is not easy to come up with the perfect present while following business protocol for corporate gifts.  Whether you head for the mall, haul out those holiday catalogs or go online, the following tips should guide you to a gift that will be appropriate, appreciated and remembered for all the right reasons.

Follow the corporate guidelines.  Some companies have strict policies about what kinds of gifts their employees may receive.  If you have any doubt, ask your clients or check with their Human Resources department.

Consider your client’s interests.  Find out what sports, hobbies or pastimes your clients enjoy.  If you can’t determine this on your own, contact an assistant or associate. Make your gift stand out just as you want your company to stand out.

Consider the cost.  An inexpensive gift can make you look cheap. .A lavish one could be embarrassing or alienating. Giving or receiving expensive items may be against company policy. Do your homework. What could be more embarrassing than to have your corporate gift returned or refused?

Rethink putting the company logo on your gift.  Make sure the item meets a certain quality standard and that your logo is understated enough so as not to look like a blatant advertisement.

Be appropriate.  Sometimes a gift given in innocence can be taken the wrong way, Avoid anything that is even slightly intimate when giving to members of the opposite sex.

Think twice about a humorous gift.  What seems funny to one person could be insulting to another.  Know your client’s sense of humor first.

Consider a charitable donation. Find out what charities your client supports and choose one of those.  Everyone wins. A charity is served, and no one has another unwanted gift to deal with.

Presentation is important.  Have your gift wrapped and presented in a festive way.  The packaging is part of the present.

Be generous with group gifts. If you decide to send food to your client’s office, make sure there is enough for everybody.  The holiday season is not the time to cause a food fight.

Keep the goal in mind.  The purpose of gift giving is to show appreciation and have people think of you when it’s time to do business.  It’s also a means of expressing gratitude to those who support you.

May all your clients be impressed with your gift,

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.