Writing speeches is a skill I do not possess. In no universe do I claim such expertise. In fact, my expertise is knowing to call on an expert. My LinkedIn profile suggests that if you need someone to work on newsletters, I’m your gal. Speeches? I know some people and would be happy to refer you to them.

So why did I end up with a LinkedIn endorsement for speechwriting?

No doubt my contact had the best of intentions of being helpful and supportive. I appreciate the thought. Yet there is no value in giving an endorsement just because LinkedIn helpfully asks, “Does Sue know about X?”

LinkedIn says in its Help Center that “endorsements are a great way to recognize your 1st-degree connections’ skills and expertise with one click.” That’s true. But it has made endorsing people as easy as clicking “like” on Facebook, and about as meaningful.

In a post about how to make the most of LinkedIn endorsements, Forbes.com had some recommendations, to which I’ve added my own opinions:

  1. Don’t automatically accept every endorsement, just the ones that reflect what you want to do more of. Hide the ones you don’t want or that aren’t accurate by going to profile > edit > Skills & Experience > pencil icon > Manage Endorsements.
  2. Look for patterns. If people aren’t endorsing you for the types of things you want to do, try promoting these skills. My experience with “speechwriting” suggests that LinkedIn searches the forums in which you participate and the things you say there as well as the words in your profile.
  3. Don’t endorse someone for expertise you can’t vouch for, even if you’re just trying to be nice.
  4. Don’t give an endorsement just because you got one, unless you have some knowledge about the person’s skills. If someone is truly outstanding, take the time to write a more meaningful recommendation. If they aren’t, don’t endorse. If you’re not sure, see #3.
  5. Use an endorsement as an opportunity to rekindle a relationship. Take the time to send a note or suggest getting together to catch up.

Many of my LinkedIn connections aren’t close enough friends or co-workers that I have direct knowledge of how well they think strategically, manage projects or write speeches. For that reason, I generally ignore LinkedIn’s random prompts to endorse. So if you have endorsed me and I didn’t automatically endorse you back, that’s why. Sorry. I can be that way about ‘liking’ people or companies on Facebook, too.

How do you use endorsements? Do you just agree to random suggestions or do you deliberately go to certain profiles and make more “strategic” endorsements?