Get More Out of First Meetings With Refresh

Meeting new people can be intimidating, especially for wallflowers such as myself. I’ve got the gift of gab, but I can only really open up after I’ve known you for a few decades or so. Until then, my social anxiety keeps my lips shut and my feet firmly planted in the corner at parties, making friends with the host’s cat.

Sometimes being taciturn just isn’t an option, especially if I’m meeting a new business contact. I have to find my voice somewhere, but how can I break the ice and put myself at ease? Maybe Refresh can help. It finds all of your new contacts for you and gives you lots of tidbits of info, so you’re never going into a meeting unprepared again.

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Nice to Meet You

Before you start looking for interesting morsels of info about the people you’re going to meet, link up your calendar and as many of your social media accounts as you can with Refresh. If you have more than one Google account, there’s room for that, as well as your Evernote and even AngelList accounts. The more connected Refresh is, the better and more complete you can expect its information to be.

Link as many accounts as possible to get the best insights.

Link as many accounts as possible to get the best insights.

With your calendar connected, Refresh will identify any upcoming meetings you’ve got. If you have a ton of calendars, say a couple of work calendars and then a few for home and even one to follow your favorite team, tell Refresh exactly which calendars are up for grabs and which to ignore in Settings. The app will then pull out all your meetings and find all of the people who will be at those meetings, delivering insights about everyone.

Learn more about people you're meeting.

Learn more about people you’re meeting.

I can’t always plan ahead with a calendar event before I meet someone, but Refresh was ready for me. There’s a handy search function that let’s you find anyone who may not have been identified already by Refresh. The more social networks you’ve connected to Refresh, the better your chances will be of finding the person you’re looking for. Hopefully, with both Facebook and LinkedIn connected, you can run down your new contact.

What Have We Learned

Let’s talk about the insights you get from Refresh. You’re going to hear all sorts of stuff about the people you’re meeting, and that’s great. The more information you can get, the better equipped you’ll be to greet your new contact. Hopefully you’ll already know what business he’s in and maybe whether you have any friends in common, but if you can narrow down his interests, you’ll have a leg up on topics of conversation.

Some of the stuff I learned about my contacts was useful, but some of it wasn't great.

Some of the stuff I learned about my contacts was useful, but some of it wasn’t great.

There are some good tips in Refresh, too. I ran my husband, Drew, through the app, because I should be able to tell if I’m getting back good information or not. Refresh let me know not only Drew’s employer and title, which will only get us so far in conversation, but it also made the connection that he and I both follow the New Orleans Saints, providing plenty of fodder for chit-chat with the American football season starting. I got another suggestion that Drew likes video games and a link to his Amazon wish list, so I can get a feel for the titles he likes and open another avenue for gab.

That was about all the useful information I got out of Refresh. That’s not to say that I didn’t get lots of other data on Drew from the app, but it wasn’t really useable, at least not during a first meeting. While all true, it would seem more than a little creepy to mention that you know someone’s birthday or his hometown after barely shaking hands. Refresh let me know to whom Drew was closest on Facebook, but it would be super stalker behaviour to announce you know a new acquaintance’s besties unless you’re mutual friends. I also saw some recent photos, and again, saying something like, “Hey, saw you checked out that new club on Sixth,” is sure to freak a new contact out.

Final Thoughts

Refresh works best when you’re already connected to your new contact, but if you’re already connected, they’re not so much a new contact anymore. There are two ways to locate contacts in Refresh: either as attendees to a meeting in your calendar or by searching for a contact. However, if I wasn’t connected to someone already, I couldn’t find them at all. I tried to pin down a couple of people I’d be meeting for the first time over the next week, and Refresh couldn’t locate any of them. To Refresh’s credit, I didn’t find them searching LinkedIn or Facebook on my own, but it does highlight some flaws with how Refresh delivers insights.

As for the insights Refresh did come up with, it really was a mixed bag. Some of them were incredibly useful. Refresh is telling people that I have a bunch of cats, used to work at a high school, and have been tweeting about the new guy set to play Doctor Who. All of that is great ice breaking material. Whether you need to know that I posted a picture of grocery shopping almost a year ago and just added an expensive shampoo to my Amazon wish list is debatable, though.

There are some kinks to work out here, but if you can find the person for whom you’re looking, Refresh can do a lot of good for a first meeting. You’ll just need to weed through all of the cruft and potential stalker material.


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