3 ways to thank your LinkedIn connections

“Thank you” by Avard Woolaver on Flickr.

This time of year, nearly everyone–even unsentimental old cusses like me–gives some thought to what they’re grateful for. And if you’ve had any success at work in the past eleven months, there are probably a few professional connections on your “to thank” list.

Depending on the relationship, some of them will undoubtedly deserve a substantial gift or gesture. But what about the people you’d like to acknowledge without breaking the bank or overloading your schedule? There are three ways LinkedIn can help:

1. Endorsements. I’m not the biggest fan of LinkedIn endorsements, but they do have some value–especially when given to connections who don’t yet have many of them. Being among the first to give a connection a deserved endorsement will likely stand out more than one given to someone who’s expertise has already been well acknowledged by other LinkedIn users. Those just starting a career may be good candidates for this.

2. Recommendations. How do you properly thank those who already have dozens of endorsements? Give them a LinkedIn recommendation instead. Because it takes more effort to make recommendations, they tend to be better appreciated. Look for connections who have zero or only a couple recommendations and take the time to acknowledge what they do well.

3.Introductions. What can you give the LinkedIn connection who seems to have it all? Introduce them to someone in your network who may be in the market for their services or who may be a resource to them. Choose “share profile” on a connection’s profile to make the introduction, or download his or her profile as a PDF and email it to someone else. Either way, you’ll be helping two people in the same amount of time it would take you to help one.

The best thing about taking the time to thank your connections is that it doesn’t take much time at all–especially when you consider the potential upside in improved relationships. It’s yet another example of how, as the saying goes, it’s better to give than to receive.

Should iPhone users opt in–or out–of Intro?

In late October, LinkedIn introduced Intro, a plug in that integrates rich profile information with the iPhone Mail app. Offering much of the same functionality as LinkedIn property Rapportive, Intro is designed to make it easier for users to access rich information about those who email them.

While the announcement of Intro was met with the usual squeals of delight from both LinkedIn members and Apple afficionados, it also received a good deal of criticism from TechCrunch, among others. The backlash was so pervasive, in fact, that LinkedIn published a second blog post “to clear up these inaccuracies and misperceptions.”

All of this may leave iPhone users wondering whether they should opt in–or out–of Intro. Like almost every other consideration in today’s hyper-connected world, the answer depends upon your individual tolerance for sharing information with companies like LinkedIn. As “Mr. LinkedIn” Mark Williams pointed out in this post, it may simply require a shift in how you use Intro to avoid some of the most prevalent security concerns. Others may be better served holding off entirely until Intro is more mature. In any case, it’s worth reading up on both sides of the issue before jumping into Intro. As always, anything that’s “free” generally requires that we “pay” in the form of data. Whether the cost is too steep is ultimately up to you.