Have you ever met someone for the first time and they already knew a few things about you, and not in a creepy way? Maybe they read your bio on your website, maybe they spoke to someone else who knows you to find out your interests. Didn’t that make you feel like they did their research?

When initially meeting with someone, if you are able to demonstrate that you made an effort to prepare, it can make the individual feel good and allow you to stand out. You also gain the benefit of establishing how you would like to direct the conversation, if you found a common interest point or one you would like to learn more about.

Recently, I met with someone through an introduction. I obviously knew why the person who initiated the connection thought we would benefit from speaking to one another, but I wanted to see for myself. Prior to the meeting I spent some time on the internet seeing what was available about the person I was scheduled to meet.

As I reviewed his website, I found his teaching framework for a topic we had in common. It overlapped a bit with mine, but then the frameworks diverged. This intrigued me and I wanted to learn more about it when we spoke.

When we met, I of course did not start with this, but when it was an appropriate time in the conversation, I was able to ask my opening question. He then mentioned he had a framework he would be happy to share. When I noted that I was aware of his framework from his website and YouTube, he seemed happily surprised. It was obvious I had invested some time prior to our meeting. From there he was even more excited to answer my questions.

I believe he would have always been generous enough to share the information with me, but by doing my homework upfront I was aware of the topic I hoped to discuss, I had questions prepared that would provide me further insight and he seemed flattered that I would spend the time before we spoke.

Doing your homework upfront doesn’t take a lot of time, but can make a huge difference. It’s so easy these days to find information, it becomes more important to know what information is best to review. Here are some of my favorite places to check:

  • Website: A person or company’s website provides some reflections of their personality. For example, what is the tone of the copy – serious and clinical, or joking and relaxed? If there is an “About Me” or “Bio” page, it can give you further insight into their person, and often includes their hobbies and interests.
  • Social Media Profiles: Check out their profiles on social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and more.
  • YouTube: Often there are presentations, or videos posted by individuals that can give you great information about their topics.
  • Shared Connections: Whether through LinkedIn, socially or otherwise, if you know someone who already has a connection with the person, reach out to them and see what they can share with you ahead of time.

The next time you are scheduled for that new introduction, take a few minutes, and prepare yourself. Spending a short amount of time prior to meeting someone new can elevate the value you each find in the meeting.