cute newborn kitten with santa cap It’s the holiday season and the time for giving.

If you’re like me, you’re often stuck with few ideas of what to give a business relationship, customer, or associate. How about this: give them a review or recommendation.

It’s a gift they’ll appreciate now and into the future. Here’s a quick guide to help you give.

Step 1. Pick a place.

There are numerous places to give your reviews: websites, Google+, LinkedIn, Better Business Bureau (BBB), etc. In today’s profile-rich environment, there are many choices.

If you are reviewing a business or service, your review might have the most value on their corporate website, the local BBB, or Angie’s List.

Individuals may appreciate a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile.

Step 2. Write the review.

This step is often where the good intention of giving a review or recommendation falls apart. Not everyone can look at a blank screen and know what they want to write.

If you struggle with this step, here are a couple of sources of inspiration and know-how that will help.

The Duct Tape Marketing blog has a great introduction on writing reviews. This article also has a wonderful idea on how to propagate your online reviews.

If you are writing a review or recommendation for a business, Sean D’Souza of posted a great 2-part series on Copyblogger about writing testimonials. The articles can be found here, and Part 2 contains a fantastic basic outline that uses straightforward questions.

The six questions you need to answer to provide a powerful testimonial are:

1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product or service?
2. What did you find as a result of buying this product or service?
3. What specific feature did you like most about this product or service?
4. What are three other benefits about this product or service?
5. Would you recommend this product or service? If so, why?
6. Is there anything you’d like to add? (Also include a narrative)

That should give you a solid set of points to write reviews for any business.

If you are writing a personal review, for example, to use on LinkedIn, you should use a different approach.

LinkedIn How To offers guidance on how to write recommendations here. There are several examples that can serve as your mental spark.

If you want to provide a LinkedIn recommendation, but don’t want to invest too much time (hopefully because you are going to give several), check out an article on theMuse. The article Your 5-Minute Guide to Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation provides a method for constructing your recommendation in five steps. It even contains a template that you can copy, paste, and use as your baseline.

That’s it. With just two steps, you can provide a business, customer, or person a gift that will lift their spirits and provide them value into the future.

Final note: Yes, I used a cute kitten to get your attention. A shameful ploy that has been proven to work. Leave a comment if you agree, like kittens, or just have other ideas for reviews and recommendations.

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