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

Broom Army Demonstrates Social Networking's Positive Side

This blog originally appeared in The Huffington Post

 

Pic: Sarah Hilton

 

For me, one of the most evocative pictures to come from the events of the last week in London and around the UK was taken by a friend of mine.

Sarah heard about a campaign to clean up her local area, Clapham, after the riot there on Monday night. Along with hundreds of other local residents, armed with brooms, dustpans, gloves, bin sacks and other cleaning implements, Sarah set about putting her local High Street back together again.

Like most of the other people present, Sarah heard about the clean up through Twitter. Overnight on Monday the account @RiotCleanUp was set up on the network. When I saw it at 10am the next morning they were approaching 10,000 followers. There are now nearly 90,000 people following the account and clean-ups have been organised at trouble spots across the UK. I am not aware of similar community action to bring things back to normal in times of trouble since, possibly, The Blitz.

And yet the Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament this week that intelligence services and the police were investigating whether it would be “right and possible” to turn off social networks during times of unrest. This suggested course of action comes from the belief that Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger were the main means of communicating where looting was going to take place and encouraging people to congregate.

There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction against social media from the press and, subsequently, the authorities whenever there are problems in our society. It’s as if civil disorder never occurred before mass digital communication. But if that’s the case, how did the riots happen in 1981 and 1985? What about the Poll Tax demonstrations or battles during the Miners’ Strike?

All of the above occurred before the days of mobile phones, let along social media, so isn’t it a bit unfair for Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger et al to be blamed for society’s ills?

Surely the reverse was true during the Green Revolution in Iran and this year’s Arab Spring, where social media sites allowed locals to share globally what was happening in areas where the traditional press were barred. How would western democracies have reacted if steps were taken by the regimes in those countries to close down social media during their civil unrest? Who decides where to draw the line?

And, clean-up aside, the reverse was true this week. London taxi driver Kevin Portch told me, “Without Twitter I would have driven into all sorts of mire. The @TweetaLondonCab drivers saved each other with updates.”

In his blog, Dan Thompson, one of the ‘Broom Army’, said, “On Monday night, the message in the media (which always needs a clear, simple idea) was that Twitter was a Bad Thing. That it had somehow caused the riots and looting. By Tuesday teatime, Twitter was a Good Thing, bringing back the Blitz spirit. It was neither, of course. It was just a channel.”

The truth is that the problems that lead to the unrest were not caused by Twitter, text messaging, instant messaging or any other form of modern communication. Yes, the mob may have grown because of social media, but so many other people managed to avoid trouble and then clean up the mess thanks to new technology.

Attacking one tool of the rioters rather than the root of the problem seems totally misguided. Why not ban bricks and paving stones that were used to smash shop windows? Why not ban clubs and baseball bats for fear they may be used in violent clashes? Why not ban matches and lighters to prevent people lighting fires?

Rather than worrying about banning Twitter and other social media in times of trouble, why not engage more fully with it and turn it into a tool to get one step ahead of the mob? On BBC’s Question Time last night, Brian Paddick MP, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and a veteran of the Brixton Riots in 1981 and 1985 said, “These crowds were organising themselves using social networks. Why weren’t the Police on Twitter, on Facebook, on Blackberry Messenger, getting one step ahead of the crowds?”

If individuals can find out what’s happening through social networks, why can’t the authorities in the same time? Banning mainstream social networking sites will push such communications underground, into one or many of a stream of less well-known sites. And people on the ground are more likely to hear about each new site before the Police.

Social networks are a centrepoint of our society now. Like anything we live with day in and day out, they can be used for good and they can be used for evil. We need to accept that they are here and embrace their power to help, rather than be frightened of the negatives.

Former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott tweeted this morning. “Social media is a powerful tool for good”, he said. “We need an inquiry into riot causes, not a knee-jerk ban to please the Daily Mail.”

One of my favourite tweets, though, came earlier in the week.

 “Without Twitter the riots would still have happened. Without Twitter the clean-up may not have done”. 

Comments

To maintain that twitter or

To maintain that twitter or any of the social media tools was the cause of the recent anarchic conduct merely leaves one dumbstruck with incredulity. That Blackberry messenger BBM was employed as a co-ordinating device should not be conflated with it being the cause [of the mayhem].

It is not inconceivable that someone somewhere at the point of a 9mm could have shut down BBM, this however, would have had a negligible effect on the scenes to which we were witness, but more profoundly, we'd as a nation, have sacrificed a bit of liberty in quest of a bit of security, and we'd have joined the ranks of those deserving of neither.

Alas, beyond this, there's nothing to say - http://ow.ly/62YZR

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