What’s the “right” response to LinkedIn endorsements?

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is whether there’s a “right” way to acknowledge or respond when someone gives an endorsement. Here’s an example of how one of my connections phrased it:

What is the proper response when someone “endorses” you for a particular skill or set of skills on LinkedIn? A public thank you? A quick personal note? Is any acknowledgement necessary? And, when a co-worker does this, I’m sure it’s with good intentions but I have to wonder if he or she isn’t quietly waiting for me to return the favor. I don’t want to turn around and immediately do this, it seems so obvious that way.

Well, there are obviously a few things to consider here, but this is my thinking: there’s no “right” way to do it, and I don’t think an acknowledgment is necessary, but an email to those who endorse you certainly can’t hurt. Like a lot of things, however, it’s a judgement call based on how you feel you should respond and what you would like people to do if the shoe were on the other foot. I’d also make a distinction between endorsements and recommendations, with the latter deserving more of a thank you, primarily because it takes more effort from the sender.

One thing I’ve seen that I also like is a status update thanking those who made the endorsement. My connection Chris Sanderson is especially good about doing this. Here’s just one example:

sanderson

The truth is, there’s a lot of skepticism out there about endorsements (including from yours truly), so Chris’s response to them is somewhat refreshing.

With that nod to positivity I think it’s also important to address another knock against endorsements hinted at in my friend’s question above: our belief that they are usually given as a quid pro quo; given, that is, only so the favor will be returned. While I’m certain that’s the case at least occasionally, I’d also encourage you to accentuate the positive. After all, there’s no way of knowing for sure, so why not assume that it’s deserved?

What’s the message in all this? When considering how to acknowledge an endorsement, the best thing to do might be to start by acknowledging that you just may be worthy of it in the first place.

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