Testimonials are vitally important for people as well as businesses and products. In part 1 we looked at strategies to help you get better testimonials for your business. In part 2 we look at the other side of the coin: how to write better testimonials for individuals and businesses.
In this two-part series, we take a deep dive into the world of testimonials: How to get them, and how to give them.
Giving & Getting Powerful Testimonials Series
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Writing a Testimonial: Does this Sound Familiar?
If you are asked to give someone a testimonial, or to write a testimonial for a business, your brain can go into paralysis mode. You say “sure” and then sit and stare at your computer for a while, your brain spinning, and not knowing where to start. You type in some words, and then delete them. Your brain draws a blank so you put off writing that testimonial for another day … and another day. You really mean to write it, you just don’t know how.
4 Sure-Fire Ways to Write a Testimonial
To help you put your thoughts into words, here’s four ways to help you write a great testimonial.
1. Speak It
The easiest way to write a testimonial is to speak it. Imagine a friend or colleague has asked you about the business or service: What would you say to them? Either record your answer on your mobile or have someone scribble down your answer. Type it up and polish the grammar a little bit, and you are good to go.
2. Video It
The most powerful testimonials are ones that are made on film. Just grab your camera phone or webcam, and either get someone to ask you the some questions while you answer, or simply talk about the product or service.
3. Jot It Down
The thought of “writing” can put some people into a cold sweat. The word “jotting” doesn’t have the same fear level. So just “jot” a few points down about the person or business and then email it off.
4. Use a Testimonial Template
Many people find it easier to fill in the blanks of a testimonial template, using the words as writing prompts to help structure their thinking. Here are a few common testimonial template to make things easier.4 easy ways to write a testimonial: Speak it; Video it; Jot it; Use a template #testimonialsClick To Tweet
How to Write a LinkedIn or Other Testimonial About a Person
If a person asks you to write a LinkedIn recommendation for them, or you are asked by an employee (or past employee) to write a testimonial for them, there are a few things you need to cover.
Start by giving a bit of context: How did you know the person; What was your relationship to them. (e.g. I worked with Mary Jane as her Manager for 5 years from 2010 – 2015 in XYZ Creative Industries).
Then move onto their standout skills and behaviours that you observed while working with them. Everyone has great qualities – this is where you highlight the absolute best skills of a person. (e.g. In that time I observed that it is rare to meet someone as organised and calm as Mary Jane. She always knew exactly where every project and client file was at, and what needed to be done that day. Nothing seemed to faze her, no matter how frantic the rest of the office was at times. She was a sea of calm amongst the chaos, tackling each task with a smile.)
Next share one or two success stories about the person: Something you observed about how they completed a project or task that shows their skills in operation. (e.g. I particularly remember one day when we had an impossible deadline to deliver a particular presentation. At a team meeting, Mary Jane came up with a left-field suggestion that not only helped us meet the deadline, it helped us win a multi-million dollar project. She can definitely think outside the box!)
If appropriate, share something endearing about the person you observed, as people love to know what it would be like to work with someone. (e.g. I still miss the cupcakes that Mary Jane would bring to the office to celebrate people’s birthdays or to celebrate project milestones. Mary Jane was always a great team player.)
Finally, deliver your recommendation and why you believe the person is great to work with. (e.g. I happily recommend Mary Jane to work in any creative business that values being on top of projects, and is looking for a highly competent administration assistant with a caring and calm approach.)
You don’t need a copywriter to write the testimonial for you. Write it in your own words and from the heart.Personal Testimonials Include: Context; Skills; Success; Personal Trait; Conclusion #testimonialClick To Tweet
Personal Testimonial Template
I worked with (name) as (your role) from (time & business).
In that time I observed (positive skills & behaviours).
I particularly remember (success story).
One thing that I miss is (endearing positive quality).
I recommend (name) to work in (type of business/role) that (what they will value most).
How to Write a Testimonial for Someone Who Wasn’t That Great
Every now and again, you will be asked to write a testimonial for an employee or a person that you do not like. In these situations, if you genuinely can’t decline to write the testimonial, then stay with the facts and simply confirm employment details.
Simply include the dates you worked with them, the role they occupied, their employment status, and the date the person left the company.
In these situations, keep it professional and factual and you can’t go wrong.
Employment Confirmation Template
I wish to confirm the employment of (name). They worked in the role of (title) at (company name) on a (fulltime/part-time/ casual) basis for the period from (date) to (date).
How to Write a Testimonial About a Business
If you are asked to write a testimonial for a business, and they have not given you any prompts or clues on what to write, then these questions may help you.
Start with what prompted you to choose the service or product. What problem were you trying to solve? (e.g. I needed a new website that was mobile responsive, that I could easily update and that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.)
Then: Anything that you were concerned about or afraid about (e.g.: I was worried about choosing XYZ as I had been burned by web developers in the past who charged huge fees to create a site that constantly broke, was slow to load and was hard to maintain.)
Then: What happened when you bought the product or service? What did they do? (e.g. What I found was that XYZ were brilliant. They were not only reasonably priced, they met every deadline, and my site is fast to load and looks great on all devices.)
What results did you get? (e.g. The results were fantastic! My traffic increased dramatically, with new clients phoning through orders almost as soon as the site was launched.)
What did you like most about the approach the product or service took? (e.g. I particularly liked that they took the time to explain all of the options to me in a way that I could understand. They also included many little touches that other web designers charged extra for such as a favicon, a branded 404-error page, and a great header that I can use on my Facebook page.)
To whom would you recommend this product or service? Why? (e.g. I would recommend XYZ to other small businesses looking to have a website that not only looks good, it actually works in terms of converting sales.)
Business Testimonial Template
I needed help with (problem).
I was initially concerned about choosing (name) because (things that worried you).
What I found was (how they solved your issue).
The results that I got were (describe the results).
I particularly liked (specific feature).
I would recommend (name) to (who you recommend them to and why).
How to Write a Testimonial About a Speaker
If you have had someone speak at an event, writing a letter of thanks/testimonial need not be a hassle.
Start with context: Where they spoke, what topic they spoke on and a summary of the audience response. (e.g. Thank you for speaking at the XYZ Chamber of Commerce breakfast in May on “Fantastic name of speech.” You could have heard a pin drop throughout your presentation – you had the audience at the edge of their seats the whole time you were speaking.)
Next move onto a few pieces of feedback you heard from attendees of the presentation. (e.g. Here are just some of the comments we heard from our members after your speech, “Wow – that was the best speaker our Chamber has had in a long time,” Bob; “That tip about to do lists was gold!” Susan; “So inspiring!”, Greg)
Finally, close with another thank you and a recommendation. (e.g. Once again, thank you for sharing your story and your tips with our members. We would heartily recommend you to other Chambers of Commerce looking for an inspiring business speaker who also gives practical tips on how to improve their small business.)
Speaker Testimonial Template
Thank you for speaking at (name) (date) (topic). (Summary of the audience feedback).
Here are just some of the comments we heard from our members after your speech (3 specific pieces of feedback).
Once again, thank you for (specific thanks). We would recommend you to (who you recommend them to and why).
Basic Testimonial Writing Rules
Don’t worry about how long or short your testimonial is. If you write a page, they can always edit it and just use the key points if they are looking for a short testimonial, or they can use the whole thing. By writing until you are “done” you give the company options.
Finally, where possible give permission for your full name and company name to be used. If you have a website, give permission for your website to be linked to your testimonial. This has the added benefit of giving your website more Google juice through gaining a link back to it, as well as adding credibility to your words.
Writing a testimonial doesn’t have to be a chore – just pick the approach that best works for you and give it a go. You will feel great for being able to share your experience of the product or service with people, and the company you are writing for will feel appreciated and valued.