In the world of international sport, professionals are often put in the position where they must meet new people. This can include discussing current or future opportunities for collaboration, providing or receiving a formal pitch, or presenting the work of your company to a diverse group at an industry gathering.

Whatever the circumstance, leaving a strong first impression is one of the most important – and often challenging – aspects to consider. Every individual and every circumstance is unique, so how best can one approach meeting new people with a consistent approach?

Like many other aspects, the result often lies in research! One of the repeatedly underutilised tools that can give you the head start in impressing in such meetings is doing research on those you are meeting beforehand. Not only their names and positions but take time to gather a strong understanding in what makes them tick.

With online resources, now is a better time than ever to do this effectively. By using LinkedIn, Twitter, Google searches for relevant news stories, or reaching out to mutual associates, for example, you’ll soon be able to paint an effective picture of the people are you meeting without even meeting them – meaning you can better understand their way of thinking, and find commonalities, before you even see them face-to-face.

So next time you are in a meeting with new people, remember – the meeting starts before the meeting starts. Do your research, and get the head start!

We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: www.bcw-sport.com