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

Feeling Nervous? You're Not the Only One - Yet You May Be the Only One Who Knows

Davidwbaker [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

My heart was pumping at such a pace that I was getting sharp, insistent pins and needles in my hands, arms, legs and who knows where else. I could feel a sense of panic that surely transmitted itself to my face and, from there, to everyone else in the audience. It was all I could do to finish, go back to my seat and breathe calmly once more. 

That's a feeling that many people will relate to when it comes to speaking in public. I don't share many public speaking tips here, that's other people's speciality, but it is a central part of many formal networking events and an opportunity that should be grasped with both hands. But that's hard to do when both hands are shaking furiously. 

The emotions expressed above aren't a generalisation of the feelings many people get when faced with a public speaking opportunity though. That was the visceral reaction I experienced myself at one event last week. I wasn't delivering a big keynote, there weren't that many people in the room and I was sharing information I knew well and in a format that I used to train people in. 

For a host of reasons, my nerves really kicked in and affected me. I really felt that I blew the opportunity. But apparently I didn't. 

I asked a few people I know well, and who I know would be totally honest with me, about their perceptions of my presentation. They thought I was composed, professional, in control and, of course, wildly funny! (Well, maybe mildly humorous.) Nobody thought I was nervous. In fact one colleague told me that he upped his own game because of the standard he felt that I had set. He had no idea of my inner turmoil.

So many people assume that speaking in public, or indeed networking, is easy for people who do it regularly and that we don't get affected by nerves in the same way that others do. Don't believe it for a second. Nerves affect most people, even people doing something on a regular basis. The key is in accepting those nerves, knowing how to cope with them and even how to channel them to become excitement and controlled adrenaline. 

For my forthcoming book 'Just Ask!', I interviewed singer Hattie Webb, who has worked with many of the biggest music stars of the last half-century, including Sting, Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty. Hattie shared with me how two of these music icons got extremely nervous despite years of experience and thousands of fans worldwide.

Hattie said, ‘We were going on stage in Austen, Texas. I was making tea and Leonard was making coffee and, as he was pouring his coffee, I could see his hand shaking. He looked around to me with a smile said, “I've been doing this for forty-five years and still…”.  

‘I smiled back, knowing that we are all vulnerable. When we toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Charley (Hattie's sister and fellow backing singer) and I travelled to the stage on the golf buggy with Tom and Dean, Tom's bodyguard. One night in Vancouver, Tom turned around to us and said, “I'm so nervous”. I felt more at ease with my nerves knowing Tom had them too.

‘It's almost as if the experience you have in your body is more daunting than the actual action of performing. Fear can have a hugely ominous presence, but what if it's there and you're ok? It’s a duality, it's there and you don't need to get rid of it.'

Almost everybody gets nervous in certain situations, even the greatest stars. If you struggle with your own fears, one of the biggest things you can do is recognise that it's nothing unusual and, despite how you think you look, many people may not be aware at all of how nervous you are.

The opportunity is still there for you to grasp in both trembling hands.


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