“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“"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
“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
“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'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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“'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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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

Why Should You Listen to a Networking Expert if You're Good at it Already?

 

My work finds me speaking to people with a wide range of skillsets and experience, often in the same room. Some people have never felt comfortable networking or have never before considered it to be relevant to them. For them, often the most basic ideas I share are of groundbreaking importance because they have simply never considered them before. 

Others are less likely to be easily engaged with the common sense ideas I share. I never claim that I teach anything so technical and complicated that people don't know how to do it. The term 'it's not rocket science' could have been invented for networking. 

That doesn't make it less relevant though. The vast majority of people I encounter through my work have one thing in common, whatever their previous experience or success. They do not tend to focus strategically on their networking. 

The most comfortable networkers know how to build relationships, they are at ease engaging in interesting conversations, they instinctively know when to pick up the phone to a key contact and they often have a strong support network, including mentors. They naturally do much of what I teach already. 

They are in a state of unconscious competence when it comes to networking. The Four Stages of Learning model is pretty widely known, so I won't go into detail here. If you need more background, click on the link. 

The most common analogy used to explain this state of expertise is how experienced drivers can suddenly find that they have reached their destination but they can't remember making each turn, let alone each change of gears, flick of the indicator or turn of the wheel. They are so used to driving that they go through the motions of both controlling the car and following a familiar route without thinking about it. 

When you understand how to network, you don't think about networking. You just do it. 

But by doing so are you making the best decisions? Are you giving everything you potentially could to your network or achieving as much as your contacts are able to help you achieve? 

If you always drive the same route without thinking, are you missing out on a short-cut you hadn't thought of? When you don't take the time out to consider the best route, do you need to wait until someone informs you of a better way before you find out? 

Sometimes it can pay to come back a step to a state of conscious competence. To look at exactly what we're doing and make sure that we are being as effective and as efficient as we possibly could be.Speakers use their knowledge and expertise to help audiences look at their activities and behaviour in a new way. They help them to think more deeply, more strategically and more intentionally about a topic. 

For years I have challenged my audiences to do one thing. Once a month, identify your biggest challenge and then ask yourself, 'who do I know who has the expertise, the ideas, the world-view and the experience to help me overcome it?'. Pick up the phone and invite them to coffee or lunch and ask for help. 

What difference could such a focused and proactive approach make to you compared to relying on your instinct? 

I intentionally ran this blog past three colleagues before publishing, significantly improving it from the original draft. One of those colleagues, someone I consider to be a very good networker, told me that she has "fallen into the trap of using some networking events to catch up with old friends, which is not actually ever that business focused. So this could apply to me."

In the introduction to my third book, 'Recommended', I explained how my business is built on referrals and I teach the topic, so I naturally and instinctively know how and when to ask for referrals. Yet, when I take my own advice and keep a record of my referral activity, the number and quality of referrals naturally rises, as does the conversion rate into business. 

There's an easy trap to fall into when things come easily to us. We shift our focus to other areas where we need to concentrate more of our efforts and let nature take its course where we are confident. By doing so, it's easy to slip into bad habits and lazy approaches without realising it, missing new routes and effective shortcuts because we're not looking out for them. 

Sometimes we want to listen to a speaker or read books to learn something new. There is, however, equal value in doing the same to remind ourselves what we knew in the first place but had forgotten to implement. 

So, what is your greatest strength? The area you are most confident about, where people turn to you as the expert? Whether networking or something completely different. 

When was the last time you truly challenged and extended yourself in that area? 

Comments

I totally agree. As well as

I totally agree. As well as getting the point of view of others I usually have a couple of people I mentor at any one time. By advising others I can pick up a fresh perspectives from them and myself. The number of times I've given advice and thought afterwards, 'John, that was brilliant, why aren't you doing it?' Essentially they're being used as a sounding board. Also, because of their 'lack' of experience they'll question some of my advice which encourages me to rethink some things.

Thanks John, That is an

Thanks John,

That is an interesting perspective. I find it a tremendous benefit of mastermind groups that I learn from my own suggestions and those of the others around me.

It's amazing how much of the simple stuff we miss.

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