While preparing for a business meeting involves familiarizing one’s self with the information to be discussed, it may also require thinking of an appropriate token to give a foreign guest. As gift giving etiquette varies from culture to culture, taking these customs into consideration can go a long way.
A gift is a social gesture that may be expected in some countries. Make sure to offer it at an appropriate time and within a reasonable price range. It’s also worth remembering that some multinational companies and governments usually have guidelines regarding their employees accepting presents. It would be a good idea to look through the policies of the companies you will do business with.
The shops at Helsinki Airport offer excellent options for those looking for business gifts.
Stylish, functional and gender-neutral items are always a safe bet. Choosing gifts that take traditional Chinese beliefs into account may not be a must these days, but it is always better to be sensitive when meeting guests from China and Taiwan.
For example, giving eight of anything is considered good luck, while four is bad since the word for “four” sounds like the word for death. Do not give clocks or watches as these suggest a time limit on the relationship; anything sharp such as scissors or a letter opener symbolize cutting off the relationship. The Chinese regard red, pink and yellow as happy, auspicious colors.
- Mont Blanc stationery, available at WDFG Collection at Gate 27 (€55, only for passengers traveling abroad)
- Skross power case (€19.95) and Skross travel plug and USB (€12.95–€20.95), available at Capi The Travellers Electronics Company in Terminal 2, opposite departure Gate 28
Food, especially specialties from your region, are much appreciated. But again, bear in mind religious laws when selecting food as gifts. For instance, pork is prohibited in the Jewish and Muslim religions, so you shouldn’t pick anything made from pigs. Another prohibition for the Muslim faith is alcohol. In addition, when receiving guests from India, don’t offer beef products or items made from cowhide.
Last, selecting items made by local designers or artisans is another option. Finland has a very strong design culture and giving Finnish products is a good way to share this with business visitors from overseas.
- Alvar Aalto Collection bowls in three different sizes (€49–€129), available at Iittala at Gate 28
- Marimekko plywood tray (€24), mug (€19.50) and table napkins (€2.90), available at Marimekko at Gates 26 and 34
- The Arctic World of Santa Claus at Gate 28, 2nd floor, features a large selection of products made by Finnish artisans. The must-visit shop carries brands that are only available in Finland such as Lumi, Costo, Aarikka and Kauniste, among others.