“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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 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
“"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
“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
“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
“'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
“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
“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
“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 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'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, 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
“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
“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
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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

5 ways to convince your boss to let you join a networking group

 

One of the challenges for anyone joining a networking group is managing the perception and expectations of their colleagues and bosses back in the office. If you attend breakfast meetings, for example, people often think you're shirking when you walk into the office late rather than crediting you for the extra hours you've been putting in. 

An even bigger challenge can be getting the support and funding from line management. When I was MD of Business Referral Exchange I met one bank manager who was funding membership and the cost of breakfast personally as her Head of Business didn't support her involvement in the local group, despite us having a national relationship with the bank. 

Memories of stories like this came flooding back last week when I was asked by someone I have met on various trips to Sweden how to overcome the challenge of a reluctant boss. 

Here are five key things you need to do if you are going to change the mind of a sceptical boss:

 

1. Set clear objectives for membership

As I've often stated in my blog and elsewhere, one of the biggest challenges with networking is the lack of understanding of what is involved. 'Networking' has become a dirty word in many quarters (as seen only last weekend) and the prevailing image is one of mass business card exchanges, elevator pitches and copious free wine. 

If your boss has this image of networking, there are only two possible outcomes. They will either feel very strongly that there are more productive ways you can be spending your time (and their budget) or they will call you in to report back on how many business cards you collected after each meeting. 

You need to be very clear about why you are joining the group and its likely impact on the business. Don't simply promise 'more business', you'll be in sales mode as soon as you join. In my blog 'Networks that Fit' I explored how to identify how networks can best help your business. 

2. Understand your Return on Membership and how you will measure it

It's not enough just to promise a vague outcome, you have to be clear about what the return will look like and how you will demonstrate success. 

Start by calculating the true cost of your membership. This isn't llimited to the cost of joining an organisation or meeting/food costs. What about the cost of your time and opportunity cost? Factor in the cost of 1:2:1 meetings with fellow members outside the meetings as well. Your boss will take you much more seriously if your proposal shows a substantial investment. They'll probably take more notice of that investment too. 

Of course, they'll only show a positive interest if you can demonstrate the potential for a positive return. That may be a tangible return in terms of new business driven through referrals or increased profile, but it could be less tangible, such as industry knowledge or peer support. Be very clear about what success will look like. 

3. Manage expectations

The temptation will be to aim for a few quick wins but that approach could be counter productive as you focus too much on selling to members of the group rather than building relationships. The subsequent damage to your reputation within the group could take considerable time to recover from. 

So make sure you manage expectations when you present your proposal. Don't feel that you need to prove success immediately, agree a return that you'll both find reasonable and one that you are comfortable living with. 

4. Involve members of the group 

Get the support of the group's members and organisers. Networking is, after all, about collaboration, shared ideas and mutual support. 

Discuss your objectives and Return on Membership with the group and ask for their input. Are your expectations reasonable? Have you missed potential benefits that might persuade your boss? Have any of the other members been in the same position? If so, what worked for them and has their return on membership justified their continued involvement?

If you can share some relevant success stories in your proposal, it will bring the opportunities to life and increase your chances of getting the thumbs up. 

5. The proof of the pudding...

The Swedish networker who originally asked me the question, Simon Löfgren, came back a few days after he posed the question and told me, "I have just had a great case with some success in this particular manner.  

"I asked for permission to attend as a guest two or three times. I told my boss that I would personally take on the cost for these three visits. After those visits I wrote a full summary where I sold the idea of networking again, how this fits our business and some short term results that I got right away. 

"I also negotiated a better membership deal and brought it back into my summary. A few days later my boss replied, compensated me for the first three visits and said yes to the deal."

 

It may take a bit more effort but it is possible to persuade colleagues and management that time spent networking is time well spent. But that effort may not only allow you to network more often, the planning and thinking involved will probably lead to you networking more effectively and with more success too.

Comments

Instead of traditional method

Instead of traditional method now days we have found that to joining a networking group we are not depending upon on anyone. But still in different business networking groups we need to convince people for joining which is really helpful for our business growth and career development. Here in this article we have found some beneficial instruction on how to convince a boss for joining a networking group.

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