Virtual Hi-Five

Thursday, 22:15

After replying to a thousand emails, I have finally cleaned my inbox.

My turn to start a few email threads of my own!

An opportunity

Spending hours every week in various Toastmasters (public speaking) clubs, naturally I enjoy helping others prepare their presentations – from helping them clarify their reasons why they want to speak in the first place, to letting them know which of their gestures are the most effective and where they should make a pause instead of speaking on and on.

Until recently, I was doing it just for friends – but a few weeks ago, I received a message from a colleague from work whom I haven’t met before, saying: “Hey, I need to prepare a presentation and I want it to be good. I heard you are somehow into speaking. Would you have time to discuss?”

So we met. And we discussed.

I realized that maybe this is one more area where I could bring my work and passion together. And I was curious – how could I get more of such requests coming in?

A favor

Of course! Maybe a friend from Toastmasters could recommend me!

I click “compose” and let my fingers loose on the keyboard. But after 10 seconds – they stop.

Not the right way to say it.

Press backspace – hold.

My fingertips get dancing on the keys again – and come to a halt after no more than quarter of a minute.

Select all – delete.

I’m considering giving it one more try – and I give up. Postponed indefinitely. The draft of an email with a subject A favor: LinkedIn Recommendation ends in trash.

What makes it so difficult for me? Is it that I’m afraid that my friend will say there’s nothing to recommend? That the time spent helping her will suddenly look not as selfless act, but as an effort calculated and capitalized in form of a recommendation? Or is it that I am just uncomfortable with asking for favors in general?

The next morning I sit down in front of my computer with my mind refreshed by an icy shower. “Boy, Lukas…” I say to myself, “you’re over-engineering it a little here! If you want to be sure you don’t get something, don’t ask for it!” A single quick burst of keystrokes – and I’m hitting send. Favor requested.

Virtual hi-fives

I managed to ask for what I wanted – but it took some serious effort. Made me wonder: How about my friends and colleagues who would benefit from a little recommendation but are just too shy to ask (because they don’t do icy shower in the morning)?

What if I started writing recommendations without being asked? Something like a virtual hi-five, thank you and a shout-out to the world: “This guy is amazing and I love to work with him!” True, writing a good recommendation requires some effort, but – wouldn’t it make your day if someone wrote YOU a recommendation without you asking for it?

I wrote three since Friday and I don’t mean to stop there. It’s almost addictive.

If you want to make someone’s day today…

How about you – would you like to give a virtual hi-five to someone who you think really deserves it – and who might find it helpful?

In case you’re not sure how to handle it… Stay cool! You can check out one of the how-tos. If you want to get a bit philosophical, try this one on Forbes; if you want something simple and straightforward, jump to this one on Hubspot.

It’s OK to start with just one recommendation. Five minutes of your time to make someone else’s day.

Worth it.

Featured image by Sigfrid Lundberg, taken from Flickr, under Creative Commons license. Colors adjusted.

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