“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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'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
“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 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 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’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
“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
“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
“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 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 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
“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
“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 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
“"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
“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
“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
“'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
“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
“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

Back to Basics - The Importance of Sweating the Simple Stuff

A number of years ago I wrote a tips book entitled 'It's Not Rocket Science'. Hardly the most original title, I'll put my hands up and accept that, but it seemed to fit at the time and still does. The fact is that most of the topics I write, speak and train about are, to a large degree, pretty straightforward. I often offer pretty simple advice and insights that everyone should be implementing on a regular basis and are based on common sense. 
 
But how common is common sense? 
 
When briefing ahead of a presentation or training session, I regularly advise clients, particularly in certain industries, that they will get some feedback that suggests that the content is very basic. As long as it's a minority of delegates, they tend to be OK with that. 
 
Last week I gave a presentation for a client where some of the feedback was along these lines. What was interesting was the range of feedback from people at my presentation. While a few people there felt that this was all information that they already knew and put into practice, both the client and I had people come up to us to tell us that I had made them realise just how much they are failing to do and where they planned to change their approach or that of their team.
 
In fact, in one case I was told that a group had been dismissing the content before the talk as too basic but that one of that group turned around afterwards and said, 'maybe we've been a bit arrogant'! 
 
As much as it's rewarding and, of course, important to learn new things, surely we run the risk of falling behind our potential if we ignore the basics. Getting the simple things right is often the key to challenges that we invest hours in finding creative solutions for. Small steps that are easy for us to take can lead to huge shifts in the results we enjoy. But if we are always looking beyond the basics for the groundbreaking new ideas, it's easy to forget things that are easy to do. 
 
In terms of my presentation last week, if anyone said to me ‘it was a bit basic’ I would ask them some simple questions.
 
Questions like:
 
- How much time do you invest in setting and exploring your objectives from networking?
- When was the last time you mapped out your network and identified who the key influencers are and where you have gaps?
- What have you done actively in the last week to educate your network and ask for their support? 
- How are you building relationship management into your day to day workflow, rather than simply leaving it to chance and opportunity?
- How effective and measurable a referral strategy do you have?
- Can you name the most frequent referrers to your business and how much they brought in for you last year?
- Can you remember the last opportunity they brought your way? And can you tell me what you did with it and what progress you made, and where you are the moment?’
 
These questions are all very basic and anyone who’s running a successful business should be taking these actions and know the answers to these questions automatically. In my experience, however, many don't. If you step back and focus on the basics, and you start building a strategy to ensure that the basics lie at the heart of your business, rather than taking it for granted, what more could you achieve? 
more could you achieve than just assuming you remember it and leaving it to chance?week I gave a presentation to a client where, despite some very good feedback, some of the
responses from the audience were along the lines that it was a bit basic. But that wasn’t necessarily
a surprise. I had warned the client in advance that there would be people who would see the talk as
basic as this has happened before, and I make no bones about the fact that what I teach is nothing
particularly complicated. In fact, one of my textbooks is called ‘It’s Not Rocket Science’. But are
basics so bad? And how often do we go back to basics and remember the simple things that can
make such a difference to our careers and to our businesses.
In terms of my talk last night, if anyone said to me ‘it was a bit basic’ I would ask them some simple
questions. Questions like:
‘How much time do you invest in doing the basics, in understanding what you want, in
understanding who you want to hear about you, what you want to hear, and making sure you’re
educating your network, identifying the key influencers, investing time in building relationships
with them and in making sure they understand how and when to support you, as well as want to
do so?’
‘What time are you investing in building relationships with your colleagues, building relationships
with people other people in your industry and seeking ways to share information and innovate?’
‘What are you doing to build this into your day to day workflow, rather than simply leaving it to
chance and opportunity?’
And ‘how much of a referral strategy do you have? Can you name the most frequent referrers to
your business and how much they brought in for you last year?’
‘Can you remember the last opportunity they brought your way? And can you tell me what you
did with it and what progress you made, and where you are the moment?’
These things may be very basic, they may be very simple, and anyone who’s running a successful
business should be doing them almost automatically, but if you step back and focus on the basics,
and you start building a strategy to ensure that the basics lie at the heart of your business, what
more could you achieve than just assuming you remember it and leaving it to chance?

Comments

I think there's a lot of

I think there's a lot of people feeling overwhelmed to constantly learn or try new things, when they feel they're not doing the basics right.

I ran a basic listening skills course recently, with a group of work colleagues who have to listen in their workplace to each other and their clients. The feeling in the room when they started was one of "why are we here, we know all of this". The feedback told a different story.

Let's get the basics right and do them really well, and remind ourselves that only then can we move on. I've saved your questions - they're great! :-)

Thanks Tracey-Jane, That

Thanks Tracey-Jane,

That belief that because we know the basics we are doing them holds so many individuals and businesses back. Thank you for your comment.

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