LinkedIn recommendations: Timing is everything

Part 3 of 6

Swatch watch by cbcastro on Flickr

There’s an old saying: “timing is everything.” That wisdom certainly applies when it comes to LinkedIn recommendations. Timing can have a tremendous influence on whether you’ll be given the recommendations you request, and it also can increase or diminish the value of the recommendations you receive. Here are a few pointers to get the best results:

  • Space them out. Don’t give them out all at once, and don’t ask for them all at once. Aim for consistency–give and request one a month.
  • Know when to ask. If clients, customers or co-workers are waiting for something critical from you, it’s not a good time to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. Also, consider their schedules. Are they particularly busy this time of year? Are they headed out on vacation, or just coming back? If so, it may be better to wait until they have some air in their schedule in order to move your request closer to the top of their to-do list.
  • Allow people you’ve helped to help you. When you go out of your way to help customers or co-workers, it’s always great when they appreciate the effort–and even better when they say, “If there’s ever anything I can do for you…” When this happens, we usually humbly say “no problem.” Instead, think of it as the perfect time to request a LinkedIn recommendation. It’s a great way for those you’ve helped to return the favor in a way that has lasting value.
  • Avoid the quid pro quo. When one of your contacts gets a LinkedIn recommendation, it looks pretty great in the news feed, doesn’t it? But what if the very next thing in the news feed is a reciprocation of the recommendation? It loses a little bit of the impact, right? Two individuals may have very good reasons to recommend each other, but they should be spaced out to avoid any sense that it’s just a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” arrangement. Part of the problem is that Twitter encourages this, suggesting that you immediately reciprocate when someone gives you a recommendation. The best strategy, though, is to wait, even if only for a couple of days. If you’re recommended and you want to return the favor, just thank the person who recommended you and offer to do one for them when they need it most. Likewise, if you make a recommendation is the recipient immediately reciprocates, thank him or her and hold off before clicking on the “display recommendation” link. In any case, it will benefit both of you in the long run if you just say no to the quid pro quo.
  • LinkedIn recommendations make a great gift. There’s no bad time to give someone a LinkedIn recommendation, but it’s even better to send them on a contact’s birthday or at the holidays. After all, which would you rather receive: a birthday greeting on your Facebook wall that will disappear after a day, or a LinkedIn recommendation that will be seen for the life of your profile? It’s a great way to stand out from the social media crowd.
What tips do you have when it comes to ensuring your recommendations, and your recommendation requests, are right on time?

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss what makes a great LinkedIn recommendation. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.
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One Response to LinkedIn recommendations: Timing is everything

  1. Andy says:

    LinkedIn recommendations make a great gift.

    Great idea! I think I’ll get my 12-year old sister a LinkedIn recommendation instead of that Nintendo DS she’s been wanting. In the long run, it’ll serve her better professionally. 😀

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