So how can you best prepare for this important meeting? Go straight to the person’s LinkedIn profile.
In just a few short minutes, you will be able to get a pretty good idea about who this person is and what’s important to him/her – and you’re sure to find an icebreaker topic or two as well.
Here are the 10 sections of LinkedIn that will enable you to learn about just about everything about everyone you’re about to meet:
After reading the person’s summary, you will know precisely how that person presents themselves online, what is important to them, and how they help others. You’ll also know what other sections of LinkedIn you’ll want to concentrate on.
2. In Common With
Scroll over each circle to see what you have in common. This can include past employers, location, schools, groups, interests, etc. It’s also a great place to find bits of information to break the ice when meeting someone.
3. Review Their Uploaded Media Items
Watching a video they’re in, reading a document they wrote or viewing a slideshow they prepared can really give you insights into who they are and what’s important to them. And by mentioning these branded items, you’ll make it clear you’ve done your homework.
Read a few recommendations they’ve received and also some they wrote for others. This is priceless information as you’ll gain great insights into what they think is important and what others think about them.
Education starts with where they went to school, of course (bonus: If you find a fellow alumnus here, it’s usually a home run). But it doesn’t stop there. Learn what else they’ve learned, and from where. Discover what certificates they’ve pursued, and ask why.
6. Shared Connections
Under shared connections are the friends you have in common. Not only does this make for a great ice-breaker, those people may be worth reaching out to get the inside scoop on the person you’re about to meet. After all, nothing beats first-hand knowledge.
By scrolling through the full list of the person’s LinkedIn groups, you can really get a feel for their personal and professional interests. Where do they spend most of their time. What issues do they care most about? Bonus: join some of those groups and expand your network.
In this section, the person lays out on a golden platter what he/she is most passionate about. These are perfect conversation starters. While not everyone leverages this section on LinkedIn, it can provide you with great insight when they do.
9. Volunteer Experience & Causes
This section of LinkedIn gives you even more insight into where someone’s heart is. Don’t be afraid to mention this in your discussion; let it be a conversation starter. After all, people usually love to talk about the organizations they support.
Look for companies, careers, etc. that you have in common and can leverage when starting a new relationship. What trends do you spot that can become questions during your meeting? What growth patterns or pivots can you make note of to discuss later?
Want to be prepared for every meeting you have coming up? Keep this checklist handy… and show that interviewer, mentor or influencer you valued their time enough to come prepared!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula!
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.