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

Harnessing the social networking revolution

The latter part of the last decade has seen a revolution in the way we communicate. The growth of social networking has changed the way we interact with friends, both new and old; how companies engage with their customers and now even shape the way that government policy is set.

The influence of social media has even led to the recent sentencing of two men to four years in prison for setting up Facebook groups to incite rioting, and to talks of the influence online platforms have had in both the instigation and clean-up of last month's civil unrest in the UK.

Behind the headlines every minute of every day social networks connect people in a series of conversations on a range of topics, from sports to films to business. Much of the interaction can be dismissed as inconsequential but a lot of import is also shared and discussed online, both in closed and public forums.

One of the consequences of the popularity of such networks has been the growth of interest in networking in general. Previously perceived as a pastime of the few, either through 'Old School Tie' connections or small business exchanging business cards over breakfast, networking is now seen as essential for business growth or career development.

The growth of an entrepreneurial culture and increased competitiveness and scarcity in the jobs market have both played a role in the increased importance of networking, but the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in particular have brought networking into the mainstream. In every workshop I run or talk I give, irrespective of industry or seniority, the vast majority of the audience are members of at least one social network.

Unfortunately, as with face to face networks, many people join social networks because they receive countless invites and see their colleagues already there. Little thought is given to why join and what type of return would justify the time spent online and the privacy sacrificed. That's fine when networking is purely social, but if the objective is to use social networks for professional benefit, more consideration is required. 

Broadly speaking, we network for one of three main reasons, to become:

- Better known

- Better equipped or 

- Better connected.

Your choice of social network, and how you participate in that network, should be guided by those objectives.

Is the goal to raise your profile? If so, where and for what? If you want to be well known in a particular industry, look for niche networks based around that industry, or join appropriate discussion groups on a site like LinkedIn. If you want to get your name recognised in a particular part of the world or within a certain demographic, find out which networks are the most popular with your audience.

Once you have chosen the appropriate network, decide what you want to stand for in that market and to what you have to commit to get the message out. There is no point joining a platform with the right audience but then staying quiet. You need to blog, post links, ask questions and join in with discussions. Engage rather than promote and be consistent in your approach so that other people using that network get to recognise you and what you stand for. 

Is your goal to learn or seek out support? In which case, which networks boast the expertise and people with the experience you lack? Niche networks or groups may come to the fore here, but searches on mainstream sites like Twitter can also produce powerful results.

If your goal is to increase connections and get referred, you need to be focused on the quality of relationship you have with other members with whom you connect. Just sending out a mass of invitations and accepting all incoming ones won't lead to the introductions you need to boost your career or your business.

Start by connecting with people you already know, like and trust and, if you accept requests from people you haven't previously met, find out what you have in common and look to establish mutual understanding based on that.

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for referral generation, as I discuss here. Most people, however, don't understand how simple yet effective this approach is and spend their time just accepting connections and updating their CV.

However you want to use social networks, they don't operate in isolation. I meet a lot of people who tell me that they are now focusing their networking time online rather than meeting people in person. I believe this is a big mistake. You can establish and develop relationships to a certain level online, but nothing beats the rapport building made possible when you physically shake hands and see the whites of the other person's eyes.

Relationships lie at the core of networking, however it takes place. People are more inclined to support you if you have both invested time in developing trust and mutual understanding first. Online and face to face networking work hand in hand but the basic rules stay the same:

- Show an interest in the other person

- Develop the relationship over time

- Stay in touch

Despite negative stories in the media and concerns in Government, the social networking revolution is here to stay. In career and business terms, we now need to move from curiosity and experimentation to focus and strategy if we are going to make it truly drive us towards our goals. 


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