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Way to go! You finally got that meeting or phone call set up with a person you've been looking forward to talking with. Whether it's a sales call, job interview, donor information session, or just a casual coffee with someone who might be able to help you, you've taken the first step.

But how can you best prepare for this important meeting? Go straight to the person's LinkedIn profile. It's a virtual goldmine of insights about him/her. And knowing this information will significantly increase your odds of getting the results you're seeking.

**Note: You may not be able to do some of these steps on the LinkedIn mobile app.
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10 tips to discover golden nuggets of information

In just a few short minutes, you'll 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.

1.  About (previously called the Summary section). After reading this, you may know precisely what other profile sections you'll want to concentrate on.

2.  Articles & Activity. Check out the content they're writing (articles) and sharing (activity), and you'll surely know what is top of mind to them and what they consider important. This information should help you put together a few discussion topics for your meeting that will really get the conversation rolling.

3.  Media items. If they've uploaded media items, watching a video they're in, reading a document they wrote, viewing a slideshow they prepared, etc. can give you insights into who they are and what's important to them.

4.  Recommendations. Read a few they've received and also some they've written for others. This is priceless information. You'll gain great insight into what people think about them and what qualities they appreciate in people.

5.  Education. If you find a fellow alumnus here, it's usually a home run.

6.  Mutual connections. Take a look at the friends you have in common. You may even want to get ahold of one or two of them to get the scoop on this person. If you're already connected to the person on LinkedIn, do a filtered search into their network to find interesting people in their network to talk about. Click here for a detailed article on how to do this.

7.  Groups. By scrolling through the full list of the person's LinkedIn groups, you can quickly get a feel for their personal and professional interests. To view a list of their groups, click See all at the bottom of their Interests section (which is near the bottom of their profile) and then click Groups.

8.  Accomplishments. In this section the person lays out on a golden platter what he/she is most proud of and/or interested in. These are perfect conversation starters.

9.  Volunteer Experience. This may give you even more insight into where someone's heart is. Don't be afraid to mention this in your discussion with the person. People usually love to talk about the organizations they support.

10.  Experience. Look for companies, careers, etc. that you have in common and thus can leverage when starting a new relationship. You may also find significant volunteer experiences listed here that are great conversation starters.

Keep this list handy and use it as a checklist for all of your upcoming meetings with strangers. Perhaps they won't be quite as "strange" after you're done checking them out!
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