How to Build a Network!

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Your wealth equals your friends’ wealth.

Windward REI network!

By now most of you have probably heard that your net worth is equal to the average of the five people you spend the most time with, but why is this true?
 
Obviously your five friends aren’t going to give their wealth to you because they like you, but they will give you knowledge which is even better! Using the old “Give a man to fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” adage it is obvious that learning from these successful people is more beneficial than receiving a one-time cash handout from them!

This works in much the same way that hanging out with your deadbeat friends from high school is a sure-fire way to never move out of your parents’ basement. It is human nature to emulate the people we spend a lot of time with which is why you may have noticed that we often say or do something which resembles the mannerisms of a close friend.

This is why it is important to spend your time with quality people that are either headed down the path you want to go or have already reached that destination. Throw out the “thumb” and hitchhike, let the momentum of those successful influencers carry you forward, and most importantly LISTEN to the advice they give you!

Be proactive

So how do you meet these successful influencers?
 
There are several philosophies here, but I think they can be boiled down into the phrase: Be the right person, in the right place.
 
This simple phrase has a much deeper meaning than at first glance, obviously I can’t wake up from rehab and decide that the President of the United States is going to be one of my five influencers. If only it were that easy! Set goals to network with people, and then do it!

Be the right person

I championed the phrase “If they like you, they’ll join” as my key to success when I was a recruiter for the Marine Corps. This over-simplified statement means that if somebody admires you they are much more likely to listen to you and learn from you. In much the same way if you are developing into a solid influence on your own, people are naturally going to be more attracted to having a conversation with you.
 
This is why the key to all networking is self-development, we must look inside and give an honest evaluation of who we are, and then make the necessary changes to become a better person. This is not an easy task, but there are many good resources on self-development that can help you become a more well-rounded individual. (More to follow on self-development in a later blog). Become a person that is worth knowing!

In the right place

Being the right person is the key, but without a door to enter it is useless. That is why the second part of networking is to go outside and meet people! Find local groups that meet about Real Estate Investing (REI), Self-Development, Origami, or whatever interest you want to learn about…and then go to those meet-ups!
 
Once you’re at the meeting you need to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people, you don’t need to be a subject matter expert, or have any prior knowledge/experience, all you need is the confidence to show up, introduce yourself, and listen!
 
This is where taking action and being proactive will pay dividends. I have found it is very easy to make excuses and avoid events/meet-ups. It is easy to justify not having the time, not wanting to drive, not wanting to spend more time away from home, or any other excuse. Every time I have actually made it to an event though I realize how much information I received, and how much camaraderie there is at these events. It is a place to meet like-minded people, share ideas, and learn from the people that are paving the road in front of you. Any excuse that can be made will not outweigh the benefits from just showing up with a smile on your face, and network! 

Making an Impression

Handshake

The handshake is the most common greeting, and most importantly the first impression. When you shake somebody’s hand use a firm grip, shake once, maybe twice (Just long enough to state your name), and release clasp. It is better to be short, than awkwardly long. 

Eye Contact

This is another important component of communication. I have known people that are too nervous to look me in the eye, and awkwardly stare at the floor or ceiling instead. Not only does this give the impression that what you’re saying lacks importance, but it is also detrimental to your perception of their confidence level. Make eye contact during the introduction, and appropriately throughout the conversation. 

Confidence

How you carry yourself will play a role in whether or not people remember you. I was once told that when you enter a room, you should enter as though you own the room! While there is a fine line between confident and cocky, I am certain it is better to cross this line then appear to be a limp noodle. Carry yourself with your head high, shoulders back, chest up, and make eye contact!
 
The way that you carry yourself will be one of the single most important parts of networking, and I would recommend practicing your posture, and introduction with somebody (that will critique you honestly) until you feel it is perfected, and you are confident about the impression that you will make. If you do not have somebody to critique this, or you are still too nervous, Practice using a mirror, or video tape yourself! 

Build Rapport

The website skillsyouneed Defines this as “Rapport is a state of harmonious understanding with another individual or group that enables greater and easier communication. In other words, rapport is getting on well with another person, or group of people, by having things in common, this makes the communication process easier and usually more effective.” Basically, building rapport is the art of getting on the same page as the other party, and establishing trust with them.  

Find common Ground

The first step to building rapport is to find common ground. When I was a recruiter they taught us to do this by picking something out about their outfit and striking up a conversation about it. This could be their watch, shoes, headphones, the band on their t-shirt, or anything else you notice that you can talk about with them. Another useful trick is to pick something out that you don’t understand and ask the person to elaborate on it; rarely will you find a person that doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves, or a certain piece of their identity/outfit. 

Match and Mirror

Matching and Mirroring is the art of mimicking the other parties body language without them noticing. Have you ever noticed that if you’re talking to somebody and you cross your arms they will oftentimes cross theirs too? This is a simple example of match/mirror, and it creates a sense of unity, and furthers the common ground previously established. 

Demonstrate Core Values

This goes back to the whole “Be the right person” thing I mentioned above. Demonstrating your core values is a fancy way of saying that you need to be a person of morals, and that needs to be evident to those you meet and talk to. Don’t try to fake the funk here, but rather strive to genuinely become this person, and people will naturally be able to tell that you are a person worth knowing! 

Summary

In my opinion the most important thing to remember about networking is to grow as a person, become somebody worth meeting, and to put yourself in the right place to network! I believe that networking with the right people can bring more value to your life than any book, podcast, or course you take in the beginning years!
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David Pere

David Pere

David is an active duty Marine, who devotes his free time to teaching personal finance and real estate investing for service members, and the working class!

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