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

Another Brick in the Wall

 

This is a tale of how I helped an Australian family I met in Iran to play table tennis on top of The Great Wall of China. 

It really is a small world! 

Last Summer I had the privilege of sharing a stage in Tehran over two days with a host of great speakers from around the globe, including Paul Brown. Paul is an expert on customer retention in the fitness industry and had brought his wife, Jacqui, and son, Ben on the trip with him. 

The visit to Iran was a test run for a big project the Brown family had planned, 50 Sports in 50 Weeks. The aim of the project is to 'get the world off the couch...one sport at a time!' by participating in 50 sports in 50 weeks in 50 of the most iconic locations around the world and learning about each sport from 50 of the greatest sporting athletes and teams they could. 

That trip is well under way now. It started back in October with Beach Volleyball close to home on Australia's Gold Coast and a few weeks ago brought them to London. I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Team Brown and Goldie Sayers, the British record holder for the javelin and Team GB Captain at last year's European Championships. 

 

Over dinner after the javelin training session, I overheard one of Paul's crew ask him if he had managed to arrange something for their forthcoming trip to China.

"Not yet", said Paul, "My initial contact has gone cold".

I asked what they were trying to achieve and Paul explained that they wanted to play table tennis on top of The Great Wall of China. However organising the logistics was proving more trouble than it might be worth in the short period of time they had. 

A few years ago I visited China on a trip around Asia with my girlfriend at the time. My girlfriend had a connection to someone who ran executive retreats at The Great Wall and we had visited the retreat while there, sipping Champagne at sunset and sleeping out on the Wall.

I wondered if the retreat was still there and if they could help. Time to put my network to work. I called my ex-girlfriend who in turn contacted her former client. He had long ago sold the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, another clue and another piece to the puzzle.

 
the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It 
 
turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, 
 
another clue and another piece to the puzzle.
 
work. I called my ex-girlfriend who in turn contacted her former client. He had long ago sold 
 
the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It 
 
turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, 
 
another clue and another piece to the puzzle.
I wondered if the retreat was still there and if they could help. Time to put my network to 
 
work. I called my ex-girlfriend who in turn contacted her former client. He had long ago sold 
 
the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It 
 
turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, 
 
another clue and another piece to the puzzle.
I wondered if the retreat was still there and if they could help. Time to put my network to 
 
work. I called my ex-girlfriend who in turn contacted her former client. He had long ago sold 
 
the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It 
 
turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, 
 
another clue and another piece to the puzzle.
I wondered if the retreat was still there and if they could help. Time to put my network to 
 
work. I called my ex-girlfriend who in turn contacted her former client. He had long ago sold 
 
the retreat but was eager to help and put Paul in touch with the company who had bought it. It 
 
turns out the retreat was closed, but with each contact came another slither of information, 
 
another clue and another piece to the puzzle.

This morning, I received an email from Paul with these pictures: 

          

With some helpful local contacts and a little bit of improvisation, the 50 Sports in 50 Weeks Team managed to play the first and only games of table tennis ever played on top of The Great Wall of China, raising tremendous interest in their mission to get the world off the couch.

They even had locals and passing tourists come join in the fun, taking photos and within no time this amazing story was going viral.

It might not be easy but nothing is ever impossible. You just need to persevere and to be creative in finding your solutions. The right answer is not always the obvious one but often will lie within your network.

If you've read my work before, even if you haven't, the chances are you are fully aware of the theory of Six Degrees of Separation. It's not just a theory, it has very practical uses. 

The people you want to meet, the people with the ideas, experience and expertise you lack, the people who can make your dreams a reality, lie somewhere within your network. Ask for help, make sure people around you know what you want to achieve and who knows what you could achieve. 

Not even the Great Wall of China need be insurmountable! 

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