Before attending a meeting with someone new or listening to a speaker, here is what I do beforehand almost every time. It really helps:
1.) Google their name. If they have a unique name, you may be in luck, but John Smith will be harder to pinpoint. Try to read about them, find their address/phone and see what they are all about.
2.) Zabasearch. If I can’t find their address or phone from Google or Yahoo People Search, I can almost ALWAYS find them by ZabaSearching their name.
3.) Lookup their address on Google Maps. Depending on the situation, you might want to see where this person lives. If they are right next to a golf course or along the water, that says something. This is just a step I enjoy doing out of curiosity.
4.) Write down facts and findings. If you are seeing a speaker, tidbits of information can formulate great questions, and show that you’ve taken further interest in the speaker than others. This is a powerful method I use to help meet prominent people.
Doing this takes only a few minutes or less and can help create a relationship that otherwise would not happen so quickly. I am always impressed and slightly flattered when people take the time to research me before meeting with them.