You’re on your way to a coffee meeting with a new professional connection — the person who may be the key to your next job. The problem is, you realise that all you know about them is their name and job title.
You could wait outside the coffee shop and frantically find them on LinkedIn, scroll through the past few days of their tweets, and see if they have made any news lately. Or you could just check the Refresh app on your phone for a quick primer, says Wharton professor and networking expert Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take.”
Grant tells talk show host Jordan Harbinger in an episode of The Art of Charm lifestyle podcast that Refresh is “a really clever way for preparing for first-time meetings.” He explains:
What Refresh does is it basically aggregates everything you would ever find in a web search. And instead of having to go through all these different hits, it gives you one consolidated profile of all the information that’s out there online about a person. And then you can figure out that you lived on the same street four years apart. Or you might share a common interest in a really obscure minor league sports team. And then you’ve got a foundation for a conversation, which then feeds into the other person being more likely to open up and actually tell you about how you could be helpful.
When you’re armed with a bit of extra info, says Grant, you can skip awkward small talk about the weather and start on a more personal note.
We downloaded the app and allowed access to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google. Below, is an example of what comes up in a search, this one on Grant. While his summary is a good primer, his online appearances are not up to date. For example, he co-wrote a popular New York Times op-ed with Sheryl Sandberg this week that doesn’t appear.
Getting a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook information without unnecessary details can be helpful if you’re going to meet with someone for the first time or approach them at a cocktail party.
We checked out Harbinger on Refresh, as well. His is fully up-to-date, and includes the recent Business Insider story that mentions him. His summary also shows his girlfriend’s name, which may be a useful talking point for an introduction depending on the situation, especially if you know of a connection’s significant other.
Refresh has a neat tab that lets you add details to connections’ profiles after you meet them. You can also introduce people over the app and email bullet points about someone. And instead of spending several minutes combing through a Google search to figure out which sites actually belong to someone, Refresh handles it for you, like it does for Harbinger.
We played around with the app and noticed that besides the two examples above, certain people have much more in-depth Refresh pages than others, regardless of their public visibility.
If you’re in a situation where you need a primer on someone’s background in a matter of seconds, however, it certainly gets the job done. Hopefully you spend less time having awkward conversations and more time building relationships.
You can listen to the full podcast episode at The Art of Charm’s blog.
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