Networking: The Basics by Brandon Jackson, Director of Content and Social Media

As professionals, networking is one of the practices that can make or break your career and have a significant impact on your entrepreneurial endeavors. It ultimately enhances every aspect of your life if done properly, and with a little bit of luck, can help afford some outstanding opportunities as well as allowing you to create meaningful relationships along the way.

Networking with an Assistant Dean of an institution can open the opportunity to receive a full ride in an educational program. Networking got my business partner and I in the door with a team of investors for our startup and acquire much needed experience that we otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.

Learning the importance of networking for me was triggered when I was sitting in a Finance class a few years ago. The professor was providing real life examples of commercial real estate deals and he subtly dropped the fact that he had recently invested in a commercial real estate deal in Chicago with a group of his colleagues.

I was thinking to myself, how was he even presented with that opportunity? He later informed my friend and I that it was through his connections and a local YMCA board (we went to his office hours after the class because we were trying to get on the same wave). That interaction changed how I viewed networking ever since. Here’s some advice that can help you establish and maintain a positive networking experience:

First, always be prepared. Understand and know what you’re talking about and be concise. People don’t like their time wasted and appreciate those who are enthusiastic and know what they’re talking about. It can separate you from others in the industry.

Second, take them out to lunch or coffee vs. asking them to take you out. Don’t allow them to take you out to lunch every time. Everyone likes to be treated to a meal occasionally, even mentors and people that can help you.

Next, be genuine. No one enjoys the company of superficial individuals. Also, people are quick to shut down once they feel as though they’re being taken advantage of. If you can’t genuinely connect with the individual, they probably aren’t someone you should be networking with.

Lastly, be consistent. Most of the time the people you’re networking with are going to be busy and have other things on their mind. Make sure you can set something up whether it’s bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly. Just be sure to show up and adhere to your word if you plan something.

It can be difficult to network, especially for the introverts out there. Please keep in mind that networking is a topic that can be subjective, and everyone has their own practices so definitely do some independent research and do what works best for you. Don’t tweak on yourself. Get involved with your community, meet people and genuinely get to know them, the opportunities are limitless. You can increase your influence and obtain more opportunities to help you reach your goals.

If you are interested in investing with our club on either the stock or real estate side we would be happy to welcome you into the partnership.  Email membership@capitaltodd.com today to join.

Be great, invest well,

Brandon Jackson

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