8.1 Getting a quick impression of someone you are meeting

I am sure many of you will recognize the following scenario. You are due to meet an official guest of some standing, but you do not know the academic in question very well and hence do not have a clear idea of what he or she is well-known for. You only have 5-10 minutes before the meeting. How do you ensure you are well-prepared and dont blunder your way through the meeting?

You could of course start searching on the web for a university staff page. However, these are not always easy to find, especially if the academic has a relatively common name. Moreover, not all universities allow their staff to create their own web pages and even if they do, they often are out of date as most academics are not very diligent in maintaining them. Publish or Perish offers a quick solution. If you know the academics given and family name you can use these for a very quick author search, which can allow you to deduce quite a lot in just a couple of minutes.