It Doesn’t Need to be Expensive
Gifts Can Open Doors
During a trip to Korea, I learned the powerful impact of never showing up empty-handed, and how the right gift can help you form life-long friendships.
A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.
Trips Are Always Best with Knowledgable Guides
When I was the CEO at CRISTA, my fabulous office manager was Korean and was fluent in her native language. Part of CRISTA was King’s Schools, and we had many Korean students in the high school.
We decided to visit Korea to build our relationship with Korean families further. Kathleen, Kate, and I planned a week of fantastic activities during the visit.
Two moments stand out in particular. The first was a dinner hosted by the mother of a very talented junior girl from King’s Schools. The second was a visit to the Korean Minister of Education, scheduled by our gracious hostess. I remember the latter often.
Korean Culture Showcases the Power of Gifts
When the appointment was set, Kate informed me that the Korean tradition was to present gifts at important meetings. “We should be prepared to deliver something appropriate to the minister,” Kate explained. We put together an assortment of King’s school items and some other educationally relevant things.
The meeting was successful. Having a very knowledgeable and fluent interpreter like Kate made everything flow easy. We presented our gifts toward the end of the conversation. Then he asked his assistant to bring him what he had prepared.
He gave Kate a beautiful scarf, Kathleen with a stunning, pearl inlaid jewelry box, and me a BVLGAVI tie (This is a very high-end brand from Italy).
We all still have these gifts and remember the minister with fondness. My tie hangs on my tie rack. I wear it for special occasions. They were gifts we did not expect and were perfect for us. I hope he thought the same.
Give Gifts. They Can Open Doors.
I earned a great lesson from this experience and still bring gifts when I meet new people. They do not need to be expensive. They should be thoughtful and appropriate. They will open doors for you.
Try it. It is not as easy as you may think to find the right gifts, but people don’t forget you when you do. And it is an adventure finding them. Have fun.