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

Is a LinkedIn profile likely to cost you your job?

Yesterday's Daily Telegraph reported the case of John Flexman who has taken his employer to a tribunal for constructive dismissal. According to the report, Mr Flexman was disciplined for 'inappropriate use of social media' after putting his CV onto LinkedIn and ticking the box saying that he is interested in 'career opportunities'.

I do not want to dwell on the particulars of Mr Flexman's situation as we don't know the full story at this stage. The case as a whole, however, is a worrying, if inevitable, one. 

LinkedIn has become increasingly popular in the business world, having grown from 55 million users worldwide in 2009 to more than 135 million by November 3rd 2011. It has become clear from the talks and workshops I have been running that the growth has not just been in numbers of users but in activity, with an increasing number of people taking the time to fill out their profiles, make connections, join groups and spend time on the site. 

While LinkedIn is commonly seen as a social network to bring together job seekers with recruiters, there are many other business uses for the site, not least the ability to generate referrals and other sales leads. This has alerted many companies to the benefits of utilising LinkedIn. Most top companies have shifted their policy from banning use of LinkedIn to allowing it and, in an increasing number of cases, positively encouraging it. Many organisations also now have a company presence on LinkedIn, in addition to many of their senior management team having their own profiles. 

The disconnect comes from the fact that each personal profile is that of a particular individual and not the company they work for. It moves with them when they change job and their presence on the site could possibly trigger new job opportunities naturally. There has already been some debate, and litigation over who owns the content of a LinkedIn profile and John Flexman's employers, BG Group, allegedly tried to dictate what he could say about the company in his profile. In heavily regulated sectors, such as financial services, this issue can be even more sensitive. 

At present, many people tell me that they know when someone in their network is looking for a new job because they update their LinkedIn profile and add new connections. If people continue to simply see the site as a job search tool there will continue to be distrust between company and employer. We need to get to the point where individuals are using LinkedIn on a proactive basis throughout their careers, not just when a need arises. 

My concern is that such disputes will deter both companies and individuals from using LinkedIn as they should, as a business tool which, at its best, can produce tremendous results both for individuals and for organisations.

Individuals should act responsibly and check their employer's guidelines for use of the site before building their profile. They should consider at all times the impact of what they say on the firm they represent, as well as the sensitivity of the information they are sharing.

Companies should accept that people do move jobs in their career and will build networks to help them do so. Instead of trying to restrict such activity by dictate, they should focus on reducing people's desire to leave by creating the best possible working environment for them.

Firms should also develop clear guidelines for social media use that are flexible enough to allow effective use of the site and robust enough to avoid damage to the firm or its reputation. 

I don't know what lies behind the case between Mr. Flexman and his former employer but I certainly don't want to see a rush of similar cases. Employers and employees need to agree what works for both parties, perhaps we now need a standard of participation across all business. 

After all, social networks are here to stay, in most cases for the good of business. It's up to us to make them work for all parties. 

Comments

What message would it give

What message would it give out if Mr Flexman did NOT say he was interested in career opportunities? That he wasn't driven, ambitious; that he'd given up? I had a boss who said that if people hadn't moved on after two years, he'd wonder what was wrong with them. He didn't put this about, but he knew if he wanted the best, he wouldn't keep them for ever.

LinkedIn mustn't be seen as a job-seeker's network if it's to work for the people who *are* job-seekers. Until I'd been on Andy's workshop, I was pretty hazy about what LinkedIn was for, and I'm sure that's true of quite a few people in my network. They're there because 'It's a network - I'd better be in it'.

Simon

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