Flattered or freaked? My world is a fishbowl.

This week, I spoke with a search engine marketing company who had met our company's president at a recent conference. The call started off fine, and then the VP of Business Development said something along the lines of, "Hey, you're really busy! We read your LinkedIn profile, and your tweets, and your blog. So you go to yoga, huh?" I honestly was a little caught off guard by this, but laughed it off and said, "Wow, you guys are thorough. I don't know know whether to be flattered or freaked."

The fact of the matter is, I am well aware that what I put out there online is visible to anyone who cares to view it. (The one thing that isn't a virtual free-for-all is my Facebook account, which I have locked down pretty tightly.) But with the exception of possible future employers, or perhaps speaking opportunities, it never occurred to me that someone would bother to find out as much about me as they could. And the kicker: this "background research" was for a sales call.

My question is: is this in-depth research a common practice? I'm honestly curious to find out what people do when they're prepping for meetings. And, if you do this type of pre-meeting digging, do you tell said subject?


  1. Interesting post... I absolutely do this amount of research on anyone I'm talking to or calling with, maybe more. I used to research prospective donors, so I have some pretty savvy stalking skills at my disposal.

    Personally, I am very self-conscious when talking to new people, so if I know I'm going to meet them, it helps to know everything I can about them first. If I were this person on the sales call, I wouldn't have mentioned that I did all the research though. But I may have tried to steer small talk towards topics that I thought might make the conversation go smoother.


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