Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: Are there general gift giving guidelines in business?
Nancy Mitchell: There are, the most important thing that you want to remember is you must address the guidelines of your organization regarding giving and receiving gifts and you must observe the spending limits that goes for the guidelines for your organization of the recipient of your gift as well, that is the bottom line, play by the rules, find out if you don t know, call someone s office, it is a client, gift going out to a client you have got to play by the rules. Follow the gift giving guidelines, do not embarrass yourself, your company or embarrass the recipient. Then I think your goals for giving in business must be either to cement an ongoing relationship, to create goodwill or to thank somebody for something they have done for you throughout the year. Then go and choose a gift that fits one of those guidelines. It is your reason for giving, it is your direction for giving, make sure you are not giving for the wrong reason which would be to influence someone to like your company or to like you better to make up for some past indiscretion or poor performance, that is not why we give a gift in business. Think about the reason and then make the decision, if you are going to give a gift in business.