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Building Relationships

Three Smart Ways to Invest in Relationships from Warren Buffett

By Brandon Smith

I’d long heard about the legendary shareholder meetings of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalism,” the event attracts 30,000 people to Omaha, Nebraska, every year. For five hours during the meeting, Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger answer questions from reporters, analysts, and shareholders on a wide range of subjects. No audio or video recording is allowed.

Despite the high cachet of the event (I walked past Bill Gates without realizing it until I heard a commotion behind me), any shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway can attend by filling out a form in the annual proxy statement. I’m only four hours from Omaha, so I decided to make the trip.

I’m sure glad I did. The event is a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity. More importantly, Buffet and Munger’s willingness to answer questions is priceless. I was fascinated by their emphasis on people and relationships and took away three key lessons.

1. People skills are critical and take a lifetime to master.

Buffett learned how to invest at 19 from his mentor Benjamin Graham. His method hasn’t changed since. Any one of us can learn Buffett’s method by going to the library and picking up Benjamin Graham’s seminal classic The Intelligent Investor. What has taken Buffett a lifetime to figure out is how to understand people. When Buffett first started out, he placed a heavy emphasis on quantitative data. Despite being the third richest man in the world, Buffett feels he would be richer today if he started paying attention to the people side of investing sooner.

Head to the KF blog to get the rest of Buffett’s tips and to share which ring true for you.

If you are wondering… what Keith Ferrazzi and Greenlight are all about, I suggest you check it out. This group has empowering seminars, newsletters, hints and tips that will help you make your work life more vibrant and collaborative.

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