Recently I was told something that made me sit up and scratch my head.
I was told that there was a risk to my personal reputation if I presented public classes and if participants to these classes, took some issue over how I presented them, that they could write negative reviews online which would then affect my professionalism and potentially, livelihood.
What they meant was that I should only work with clients where we have some contract of privacy and confidentiality in place and where they can never share any reviews online as the risk is far too great for both the business and the individual in question.
This was an interesting proposition as my mind grappled with the repercussions of this.
However, I understood where they were coming from. I have been on the end of both positive and negative reviews online and some years ago, was even threatened with job loss because I had this blog. (Those who have been reading this blog for many years would remember this story).
As much as I can see the negative repercussions of this and how many people follow the advice above, I wanted to flip this thinking and instead focus on the positive stories.
Can we use the same thinking for say, positive testimonials?
Or, are they also risking the individual and company in some way?
If someone found your work positive, helpful and providing benefits and value to your business, would you want them to share it? (Obviously with their permission of course?)
It got me thinking just how many times in my life have I given glowing reports, recommendations and testimonials to my network about the people – those exceptional individuals – who have provided me with my own personal and professional growth.
One of the things I used to do in the past was every time I worked with a client, I would write them a testimonial on LinkedIn. There was no expectation that they were obligated to do the same. On the whole, the majority of people did not return this action more so because I believe that they didn’t know how to do this or lacked the time or simply forgot about it. The few who did, I thanked and it was a great feeling to receive this public testimonial no matter how small.
I got into the habit of awkwardly asking for a testimonial on LinkedIn on completion of the projects I did with clients and these were a little bit more successful. I found if you ask, people are more than happy to provide.
But what about those when you’re NOT asking?
What if someone provides you with such great value, new insights and new ways of thinking that results in a substantial professional or personal development change for the better, are you likely to share this to your network?
This could be in the form of:
- LinkedIn Testimonial
- Public post or detailed testimonial on your own website
- Write about their work on your blog or share a video about them on your video platform
- Direct introduction of that person to other people in your network through email, phone or meeting
- Introducing potential clients and referrals for them
This discussion made me think about our online behaviours towards helping each other out especially at times when people are losing their jobs, losing projects, closing down business. By doing a small action of sharing a positive testimonial about their work and their business may go a little way in helping them build their online profile and reputation especially if they don’t have one. That way, they’re not starting from scratch.
It need not be a public declaration either. You can do it privately through email, phone or meetings where you introduce that person to your networks for a chat or a coffee.
So yes, reviews can go either way, positive AND negative but we shouldn’t fear giving ANY review. Ask their permission to share and then share it!
It’s a good deed, it helps someone out especially at this time.
For me, I’d much rather have more positive stories and reviews about my work and when the odd bad review here and there happens, it’s not taken as seriously because I already have a body of work that is overly positive.
Many people don’t have this as a starting point so let’s start helping them by sharing positive reviews about their work and how they helped you succeed in your work, projects, business or life.