It’s countdown time until the holidays. While there is shopping to do, baking to be done and presents to deliver, there is one more thing that should not be overlooked. That would be brushing up on your holiday etiquette and professional conduct. Here are a few of my holiday tips to keep you on the safe side during the season.
Sending out holiday cards
- Have you ordered your holiday cards with your name and your organization’s printed on them?
- Have you checked your list of current and past clients (yes, past clients so they know you are still around)? And don’t overlook your prospects in this process. Who knows? They may become clients after your thoughtful gesture.
- Have you made sure the addresses are correct and up to date for all groups?
- Spend the time now to address your cards by hand—or have someone else do it. This is no time for printed labels, no matter how many cards you want to send. Address labels are too impersonal for a special holiday wish.
- Are you sure that the card and the message are appropriate for the holiday that your client observes? Maybe a generic greeting is most appropriate.
- Finally, are you prepared to write a short message on each card and sign your name yourself? That printed name is not enough to make this greeting stand out and tell your clients that they are indeed special.
Giving holiday gifts
- Have you planned your corporate gifts? Which of your clients should receive more than a holiday card? Do you know the policy of their organization regarding receiving gifts? What is your organization’s policy on gift-giving? Does the gift you plan to send reflect your business and yet does not put your client in a position to do your marketing for you?
- Have you thought about giving gifts within the office? Consider all the individuals in your department or on your team. Don’t put people in an awkward position if their budget does not allow for an additional expense during the holidays. Keep the price modest if you are exchanging gifts. Use a “Secret Santa” system where employees only have to buy one gift and set a reasonable spending limit.
Planning the Office Party
- Are you planning a holiday party or get-together for your employees, staff or department? If so, be considerate of the time and place you choose. Your staff has a busy holiday schedule just as you do so try to select a time and place that is convenient. You may do something as simple as taking everyone out to lunch on a work day. More elaborate plans can put your staff in a difficult position of having to choose between their child’s Christmas Pageant and the office party. You want everyone to arrive happy, not grumpy.
- Let your staff know that gifts are not expected. Your invitation can state that their “presence is desired, but not presents.” Everyone is off the hook and no one is embarrassed
The holiday season is a time of celebration and camaraderie. It is the one time of the year when the details count more than ever in the business world. As a business professional, it is critical to be thoughtful of your clients and employees. One size does not fit all. Plan your cards, your gifts and your celebrations with what others would prefer rather than your preferences.
Keep in mind the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
Header Picture Courtesy of Flickr User vintagedept (CC BY 2.0)