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

How Do You Manage Your Network and Identify How to Build It?

Networks are not measured just in numbers. You can only truly assess the strength of your network if you look at the diversity within it, the depth of your relationships with people to whom you are connected and, perhaps most importantly, whether your network can offer you the support and help you need when you most need it.

When I teach referral strategy I ask people to score their ‘Champions’, the people who can potentially refer them, on three factors.

 

Willingness to refer / trust– This is where the depth of your relationship comes in and their belief in you as an individual and in the brand, product or service you represent.

 

Understanding– How readily would they recognise an opportunity for you and know how to respond?

 

Opportunity– Are they talking to the right people and do they carry credibility into those conversations?

 

It’s not enough to connect with as many people as possible, nor to focus on building deeper relationships just with the people with whom you are most comfortable. If you are to fully embrace networking as a strategy to help you to develop your career or grow your business, the make up of your network has to be a central consideration.

 

Networks aren’t Flat

When we picture a network it’s easy to visualise a flat entity, a single structure comprising all of the people we know. Much network theory focuses on the number of people in the average network, with classic studies such as Girard’s Law of 250and The Dunbar Numberoften quoted.

In my opinion, both of these studies are flawed. They are flawed in their interpretation; The Dunbar Number was never intended as an indication of average network size. They are outdated; they were both developed in the last century, well before social media dominated our lives and networks. And flawed in basic premise; Girard’s Law is based on the observation that the average number of guests at a wedding or funeral is five hundred. I went to a funeral recently that was described as ‘busy’ and I can promise you that nowhere near five hundred people attended.

The way both studies have been used in network theory is the biggest flaw. We have been told that ‘the average network size is two hundred and fifty’ (based on Girard’s Law). Other objections aside, this oversimplifies the nature of a network.

Rather than being a flat structure or simple grouping of contacts, networks are more complicated organisms with people flowing in and out and between various levels. I tend to visualise a network as a group of expanding circles, much like the side section of half an onion (figure 1).

 

 

Towards the centre of the network are your close friends and close family. What we’d call your trusted network, the people you see day in day out, week in and week out.

As you move further out through the layers, the relationship becomes a little bit less trusted, not as deep. You might see each other less frequently, be less inclined to share openly with each other or ask for help (figure 2).

 



 

 

 

At the outer edges of your network are people who come in and out. If we meet at an event or dinner party I’ll be in your network for a few days. By that, I mean that if we bump into each other or I call you, you will remember me and know who I am. But that link is tenuous. After a few days or weeks we will probably be strangers again.

Compare this to someone in the centre of your network. You could probably go three years or more without speaking to each other but still pick up where you left off as if no time had passed.

People on the outskirts of your network will come in and out. If you want to embed people in your network, your first challenge is to get beyond that outer circle and into their long-term memory (Figure 3).

 

 

The first month is key to embedding people in your network. Follow up within twenty-four hours of meeting someone; it’s not dating, so focus on being seen to be reliable rather than worrying about being considered desperate! Then follow up again after a week, perhaps a personalised LinkedIn request and again after a month, meet for coffee.

Then you will have moved up a level in each other’s networks.

 

Mapping your Network

An exercise that I’ve been using more and more in workshops over the last year or two is asking people to map their networks. It feels like a huge task, writing down the names of all of the people we come across, but a number of people have found it to be tremendously valuable.

It’s only when you can see your network in writing that you can really recognise where connections can be made, support resourced and gaps plugged.

I use a mindmapping programme on my computer to map my network. It allows me to continually add to the map, reorganise relationships and highlight different connections. I start by selecting different categories, such as friends, family, social contacts, clients, suppliers and so on.

The more specific the category, the better. I will have a group for my friends from football and another for the friends I go to concerts with, rather than one group for my social network. That way I will think of people on the periphery of that network who I might not have remembered otherwise.

I then add names by how strong our relationship is. Effectively populating the circles of the network diagram above for each category of network.

I can then start to highlight people and group them by similar interests, background, expertise or other categories. I can start to ask myself what those people do for a living and who else they know. Soon I have a map not just of my network but of my second-degree network (who they know) and a resource that points me to the expertise I need in a heartbeat.

 

 

Mind the Gap

My Network Map also helps me to see where the gaps are in my network. I can see at a glance whether I’m lacking connections and strong relationships with people who have experience in certain areas or who are influential in others. I can see how diverse or otherwise my network is; do I have enough variety in terms of age, background, sector or seniority? Will my network provide enough of a challenge to my own presumptions or will it act as an echo chamber?

That knowledge can help to guide me as I seek to build my network, whether that is through going to events or through introductions from people I already know. It’s natural to look for people who have a clear or potential relevance to what you do or who you want to meet but I’m also looking for people who have influence in the communities I want to work with, with whom I have a rapport and who share values, interests or experiences with me.

As you network grows you’ll naturally want to be more selective and careful with your time. That time becomes increasingly better focused on deepening exiting relationships rather than constantly seeking to expand randomly by meeting new people. Moving people through those stages of relationship can be far more important than just growing your network.

But always challenge yourself to make sure that the balance is right and the support you need lies deep within your network, whatever it might be.

 

 

 

 

 

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