By Paul Entin
If you have a LinkedIn account then no doubt you’ve been asked by a colleague, friend or long-lost acquaintance’s nephew’s roommate to recommend his/her work, abilities and expertise. I’m not going to discuss here whether you need to provide a recommendation to everyone who asks. But if you decide to recommend someone, here is a guide to writing the recommendation quickly and easily.
1. State how you know the person and for how long – this enables the reader to assess and weigh the credibility of the forthcoming recommendation.
2. Tell a story that exemplifies how the subject person faced and successfully solved a problem. Focus on the highlights and the outcome, not necessarily on the chronology of events. This story may recount how you worked together to complete an especially grueling presentation on a tight deadline or it may recount how you observed the subject deftly handle a sticky Client or customer situation, for example. Or the story may describe how he/she worked a trade show booth with an impressive level of knowledge and enthusiasm that helped reap 50% more leads than at the same show the year before.
3. Provide secondary information supporting the story – this may include complimentary character traits that correspond to the lead story such as persistence, tenacity, poise under pressure and sound judgment.
4. Reiterate your willingness to stake your name and reputation on this person. If this makes you think twice, then you may be better off moving on to a different project or softening the tone of the recommendation. Remember, this is an online recommendation that will live on long after you’re gone. The recipient may someday republish your recommendation all over the Web, in a TV commercial or in his/her marketing materials. Be careful, truthful and precise about every word.
For a few examples, see my LinkedIn page.