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Learn2 Choose Appropriate Business Gifts (continued)
Step 2: Know the recipient

Sure, it's the thought that counts, but we've all had those friends or relatives whose idea of a present was, well, not your idea of a present. Before choosing an item for clients or associates, remember the gift-giving code: it's not about what you like, it's what they like. Although finding out someone's taste may seem time-consuming, all it usually takes is a five-minute phone call to the person's assistant or office mate. When you call, follow this checklist:

Gift-giving policy. Some companies have strict guidelines regarding gift acceptance. Ask about any regulations before getting into the possible choices.

Health restrictions. You don't want to make the mistake of giving a box of chocolates to a diabetic, so have a clear picture of what's appropriate. Keep in mind dietary restrictions (including beverages) and any physical limitations.

Religious or ethical beliefs. This can be particularly important if you're sending out gifts for the holidays, but it can also come into play in other categories, like diet.

Lifestyle choices. What do they like? Hobbies? Sports? Books? Food? (These questions probably won't help with a group gift, but you never know when an entire office might be nuts about the same thing.)

Company/office atmosphere. Conservative or casual? Knowing the atmosphere you're buying for can be key for a group purchase, and it might help the individual ones, too.

These questions might make picking a gift a slightly trickier process, but remember--the more thoughtful your choice, the more your choice (and your company) will be thought of fondly.

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Step 1: Know when to give
Step 2: Know the recipient
Step 3: Find the appropriate gift
Step 4: Present the present