Ever been about to walk into a meeting or job interview, yet had no idea who you were about to talk to? Most people would tell you to prep for a meeting by looking at the participants’ LinkedIn profiles to get a sense of what they do, what they’ve done, and a little bit about their educational background to see if you have anything in common. But what if there was an app that did actually did all that legwork for you?
Enter Charlie, a web-based app that pulls information from your Google contacts’ LinkedIn profiles, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. We first heard about the app over at The Muse, which declared that Charlie would make you a “pro networker.” When you’re scheduled to meet with someone on your Google Calendar, the app will compile a one-pager on the other person, including a brief bio about them, highlights of their current position, their past positions, recent mentions in the news, and common interests and connections.
The app has potential to be one of the most useful networking tools on the market for professionals — but if you’re going to use it to replace all other ways to research those you connect with, you may want to take the information it provides with a grain of salt and still keep Google in your back pocket.
When you first sign up for Charlie, it will show what your own one-page looks like. Though my biographical information was accurate, the newsbites it found were four years old! As a journalist, I’ve written and been cited hundreds of times since then. I can only imagine what someone on the other end of a meeting may think if that’s all they see of me — if they don’t do any other research via Google.
That said, this app could definitely help people who have several meetings per day or meetings they don’t have control over prepare more properly. Charlie allows you to receive your dossiers — or “insights” as they’re called — either via a digest in the morning or an hour before each meeting. You can also opt to have Charlie automatically research the companies and people you’re about to meet, or you can do it manually. This means you’ll have to hand over a few permissions to the Google account you schedule your meetings with, but if this sounds like an app that could save you time — and face — it will likely be worth it.
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