How to be better prepared for meetings

Surely I’m not the only one who’s been here. It’s Thursday morning, you’re in that morning-after-youth-group stupor, and you’re meeting a parent for breakfast at 6:45. You get ready, brush your teeth, grab your keys, and then think, “Oh man…where do they work?”

Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to go grab coffee with another youth worker in your town. As you leave your office, you realize you cannot remember for the life of you the name of her kids.

Maybe you’ve got a lunch meeting with a business owner in town, trying to recruit them to partner with you for an event and you know nothing about them.

In the past, I spent the moments before meetings Facebook stalking, Twitter searching, and Instagram-accidentally-liking-pictures browsing trying to make sure I remembered everything I needed to about this person. When the meeting was done, I’d type a few things into Evernote (one of two services that basically run my life) for the next time I see them. In all honesty, these disappeared forever.

Then I came across this free app I’ve been trying out over the past month called Refresh. Here’s how it works…

  • Download Refresh from the iOS app store (Andriod is in the works).
  • Connect your social media accounts as well as your calendar accounts. I have it synced with personal calendars as well as work (both iCloud and Google).
  • Refresh then connects your appointments with their social media accounts. If they get it wrong, you can help by tagging the people in each meeting. Adding people to an appointment in Refresh does not send invitations to those people, so add away!

Then comes the beauty of the app. Refresh gathers their information, mutual friends, their experiences and interests, and puts together a single place to go for instant insights based on that person’s social media postings.
15 minutes before your appointment, Refresh reminds you to check over their information. If you want, you can even have them email it to you. Here’s an example of everything it pulled for my appointment to fork Frank Gil’s yard.

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Even better, after your meeting you can go in and leave notes on how to follow up and things to remember for your next meeting. Having breakfast with the same deacon in two months? Refresh will remind you of the notes you made when it comes around.

So when I head to a meeting with one of my new student’s parents, I plug them in on Refresh. Before going into the meeting, I look to see if we have any mutual friends I didn’t know about, what sports teams they like, where they work, and any recent vacations. I’ll make sure to bring that up in conversation and ask them open-ended questions about stuff. When the meeting is done, I go into Refresh and make any notes that I feel like I need to remember as well as any follow-up tasks.

There’s more it can do, but that’s how I’ve been using it the past month!

Ultimately, their website does a FAR better job at explaining it.

You may try it and hate it, but I know that I will take any leg up that I can when it comes to connecting with people and remembering things about their lives. Refresh can be a little clunky at times, but for a free app it’s near impossible to beat.

Disclaimer: Austin is not affiliated in any way with Refresh and receives no compensation for this post.

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