“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland

Not Everyone Agrees with your Approach to Social Media. Get over it

I sat at a Professional Speaking Association event in London this weekend listening to two speakers outline how they build a big following on Twitter, broaden their network on LinkedIn and hunt down their competitors' clients and followers on both networks.

Halfway through one of these presentations, one of the other attendees who was sat in the row in front of me turned around to ask if I took the same approach. I shook my head and she said, "I think I prefer your way".

It would be easy for me to use this blog to rail against the approaches outlined. The mass connection culture that many people employ on LinkedIn is something I rebel strongly against, as represented in my business motto 'Connecting is not Enough'.

I firmly believe that networking is more about the depth of relationship than about the breadth of connections. For me, exchanging connections to 'grow my network' or scoring another notch on the Twitter bedpost holds little value.

I don't plan to do that, however. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the two speakers concerned and for many other people I know well who both practice and preach a similar approach.

That doesn't mean I have to subscribe to the same approach though. If I did it might help me win business that I am not currently in contention for but it's not the approach I choose to take.

For me the numbers game is marketing, rather than networking. It has its drawbacks, which I have covered elsewhere and will, no doubt, continue to do so. It also has its benefits.

That's not the point of this blog. This blog is about respect.

I respect the right of the two speakers opinion to hold and to share a different opinion to mine. We have respectful conversations between ourselves where we may debate our ground but we respect the other person's right not to agree with us.

Sadly, many people seem to lack that respect.

I have been blocked on LinkedIn recently by two people who didn't respect the fact that I have a different approach to them, after they took the time to insult me first. I've had other people lash out at me for the same thing.

In each of these cases I have replied politely to impersonal requests to connect, asking why that person wants to connect and explaining how I prefer to connect with people with whom I have an established relationship but don't like to ignore people I don't know.

Ironically, this simple act of responding to their unsolicited and unedited requests meant I showed them more respect than many other people would.

The responses I receive tend to be a mix of telling me all about their business (no, I didn't ask you that), how they are trying to grow their network and think I would be a good person to have in it (that's nice to know but, to be blunt, I don't know you so why would that benefit me?) and how we have mutual contacts (did you know them before connecting? After all, you don't know me!).

To be fair, many people are very respectful when I explain my reasons not to connect. Some take me up on my offer to 'Follow' each other, which offers a lot of the benefits of connecting without opening up our respective networks to strangers' eyes.

An increasing handful though are taking great offence to a rejection of their invitation to connect. They are hurt, they lash out and then they block me.

Why?

Just because I have a different (and, I would venture in many cases, more considered) approach to them?

Why should I have to dilute my network because you have a different approach to mine? I can respect that you have chosen one path, all I ask is that you respect my choice not to follow.

I don't chase followers on Twitter, I don't friend everyone and his dog on Facebook and I don't accept random connections to 'grow my network' on LinkedIn. I value conversation over clicks.

Please respect that. If you disagree, I respect your right to do so too.

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