Friday, December 31, 2010

What are they saying? Or not...

How many vacant letters of recommendation have you read, or Linkedin endorsements have you received updates about that say nothing? Social media is opening up the floodgates of information about peers, colleagues and employees (notwithstanding my current employer’s social media policy that prohibits such behavior). But judging by the recommendations and referrals I’ve seen lately, it’s not much more than a bigger sea of sameness and genericism.

Now that performance review time is upon us again, I pride myself on taking the time to actually think about the individual whose performance I am charged with reviewing, and to write comments and feedback that could ONLY be for that particular individual. Anything less is a cop out in my opinion and not worth my or their time. Same goes for referrals and recommendations. What is the point of?

Recommender #1

“NAME has tremendous expertise in the sales and marketing of new homes and large-scale master planned communities. NAME’S knowledge of sales and marketing programs is undeniable, and NAME’S reputation within the industry in unparalled.”

Or, for the same individual…

Recommender #2

“NAME’S experience is unsurpassed.”


Undeniable. Unsurpassed. Unparalleled. NAME must be amazing… but I learned nothing new to help inform a decision from these adjective-laden posts. Too bad NAME’S reviewers couldn’t provide one tangible reason why. It seems to me that if you are going to take the time to provide a referral or write a review, your time is best spent going back to basics. What are the specifics about your experience with that particular individual and the tangible examples of their greatness? The proliferation of information channels makes that even more important. If I am reading 12 recommendations about NAME, why not be the one who took the time to actually SAY something?

Maybe it's just a personal pet peeve, but I'm over "Unparalleled, unsurpassed, and undeniable" with no substance behind it. Sigh... we're all marketers at heart I suppose. But even in the world of referrals and recommendations great marketing stands out from the rest of the pack.

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