Stop Throwing Bricks on LinkedIn

Every now and then I get a brick tossed my way and it ends up in my LinkedIn inbox. It reads something like this:

There’s only one slight problem: I don’t know anyone named “I.M. Clueless.” If I don’t know Mr./Ms. Clueless, why on earth would I endorse or recommend this person or his or her work? I.M. Cluless may be a hacker or embezzler for all I know, and by endorsing an individual with whom I am not familiar, I stand to tarnish my own professional reputation. Guilt by association. I know many other professionals have been exposed to such mindless desperation through LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, so what’s the best way to work an endorsement or recommendation?

Here’s what New York Times best-selling author Michael Port suggests in Book Yourself Solid:

  1. Clueless could have started by giving me a recommendation first, if Clueless thought I deserved one. It’s always better to offer something before asking for something.
  2. If it was important to Clueless that we connect, Clueless could have attempted to meet me first, if it was convenient.
  3. Clueless could have commented on my blog posts (hint, hint) or notes on my LinkedIn profile. This would have been noticed and appreciated.
  4. Clueless could have sent me an email expressing appreciation for my work or find some other way of making a personal connection first through any number of activities that don’t ask for anything in return and don’t make any assumptions.

It’s not just a matter of knowing who you are; I need to know something about your work–maybe even your brand–before I can consider offering an endorsement.

And use those bricks instead to build your platform of expertise, knowledge, and professional brand.

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