Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 26 2016

You Don’t Know This Social Platform, But It Probably Knows Way Too Much About You

David McMillin


When you’re preparing for an interview for a new job or a meeting with a new potential business partner, you may do a bit of harmless cyber stalking to arm yourself with valuable information prior to the conversation. Perhaps you run a quick Google search on the person’s name, read the personal bio on a company website or check out his/her details on a number of social media platforms. At the CEIR Predict Conference in Washington, D.C. from September 14—15, I discovered a platform that takes this kind of online research to a new level. It’s called Crystal, and it’s designed to deliver personality information so you can better communicate with clients and colleagues.

“Crystal is like LinkedIn on steroids,” Andrew Trabulsi, Research Manager at the California-based non-profit think tank Institute for the Future, told the CEIR Predict audience.

Much like steroids in professional sports, plenty of people may question whether this type of performance-enhancing algorithm should be legal. Why? Because Crystal can feel somewhat creepy. The platform combs through loads of data to develop predictive conclusions about the way you might want to talk to someone to capture their attention and earn their trust. Crafting an introductory email? Crystal will tell you, based on the information it’s amassed, whether you should use emoticons or a more formal approach. Gearing up for an in-person interview? Crystal will suggest key words and phrases to use or if the person might enjoy meeting over drinks outside the office.

I signed up for the service to do some exploring. Here’s a snapshot of how to communicate with one of my closest friends from college — which is pretty accurate. Tim may be a little sarcastic and make offhand comments when people he thinks are pretentious or formal. He likes to be around people who are animated and casual.

And on building a relationship with him: Tim is inspired by originality, innovation and imaginative ideas. He is naturally drawn to people who share his need for creativity.

SEE ALSO: More Tech Coverage From CEIR Predict

Could A Crystal-Like Approach Transform Networking At Conferences?

For particularly private people, Crystal might feel violating. On the other hand, for busy business professionals who want to maximize productivity, Trabulsi highlighted that Crystal can reduce the awkward get-to-know-you chatter so you can get down to business more quickly.

In a conference environment, Crystal’s technology could have a profound impact on the ability to know how to approach a new contact and shape the conversation. For example, Trabulsi highlighted the possibility of using a navigational tool to notify attendees of nearby like-minded individuals. Rather than randomly shaking hands with someone in a coffee line, squinting to see the company on a name badge and realizing that there is no real connection, a platform like Crystal might be able to accelerate casual networking into focused discussions that are more likely to lead to relationships. But this will take some time to feel comfortable for people like me. I’m not sure I’m ready to hear, “Hi David, the robot in my pocket told me your favorite color, what kind of beer you drink and what time your flight leaves tonight. Want to sit down for a chat?”

Interested in learning how one of the most respected names in the conference industry is reinventing the on-site meet-and-greet game? Check out “It’s The End Of Networking As You Know It.”

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