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

Mastermind Groups: Top Ten Steps to setting up your dream support network (Part Two)

In my last blog we talked about the power of mastermind groups and how effective they can be for your career or your business. As promised at the end of that post, here are the first five of my top ten steps to help you get just that value:

1. The right ingredients

A lot of the success of mastermind groups is reliant on the right mix of people within its ranks. If the abilities and experiences of the participants are too broad, you will find some people questioning the value the group can bring to them, while others lose confidence in the value they can bring to the group.

In my opinion, the best mastermind group is one where everyone brings equal value to the group, in one way or another. Everyone needs to be able to both contribute to and gain from the experience.

While it’s almost impossible to ensure exactly equal contributions across the board, I would suggest looking to bring together people who are at similar stages in their career or business journey. You might look for people who run businesses in the same field (as mastermind groups of professional speakers and also within the fitness industry do) or who are in a similar role within the same company or industry. Alternatively you can mix up people who have expertise in different areas, such as marketing, finance, management and technological skills.

In an ideal world the individual members of the group will all know each other first and have at least a degree of mutual respect and trust (not to mention liking each other). If you’re bringing together a group of people who you know but who don’t know each other, try to match people who are likely to have things in common and arrange for them to meet socially first to ensure that the chemistry will work.

If you are bringing together people who don’t know each other, give them time and space to get to know, like and trust each other before expecting full openness and mutual support.

You want people to be comfortable staying together for a while; you don’t want to keep on bringing in new members on a regular basis, as trust and rapport aren’t allowed to develop.


2. A shared vision

It helps if you all know what you’re doing there! Everyone needs to think about why he or she is joining and what success will look like for them. Perhaps you want your mastermind group to help you achieve a desired promotion, win projects in a new industry or take your business to a new level, for example.

You then need to share those desired outcomes with each other and ask yourself both whether the objectives are mutually compatible and also how you can best structure the group to meet everyone’s goals.

A clear vision of success will make each participant’s commitment to the group easier to make and help you to retain focus as the group develops. Don’t be frightened to revisit the objectives you’ve set and ask whether they are being met.

That may lead to a change in approach, a change in objectives or even sometimes a change in the make up of the group. But a mastermind group can only truly add value if everyone buys into making it a success for all.


3. Commitment

Depending on your format, the numbers in a Mastermind group need to be fairly low, compared to other networking events. I believe that the ideal number for a session is around six people. If you restrict your membership to that number then you need a high level of commitment to attend. Otherwise you can find yourself with too small a group attending for any meaningful ideas to be offered.

In one group there was a much larger pool of members with a lower commitment to attend, meaning that you might see different people and get a different perspective each time. While that approach has its merits, all too often we would see people only turn up when they had a challenge and then disappear again once they have their answers.

A smaller group enables both much stronger levels of trust to be developed and also a greater understanding over time of each other’s business and individual challenges. Accountability increases and the questioning and subsequent solutions proposed are based on that greater understanding.

Agree the frequency of meetings, something that everyone can commit to but allows you to maintain a positive momentum at the same time. Our group meets every two months, while I know others who meet monthly. There are also groups I’m aware of who meet two to three times a year in person and more frequently via video conference calls as their members are based around the world.


4. A clear agenda

Agree on an agenda for meetings that is designed to best meet the objectives the group has set for itself. I suggest appointing a Chair for each meeting, and rotating the responsibility, to plan and take control of the agenda.

You will need to find the right balance of allowing everyone in the group to have some ‘air time’ to share challenges and update their fellow members and setting aside enough time to look at particular challenges in depth.

While the five minutes allowed for my ‘Mini Mastermind’ session in my workshops produces some great results, there is no doubt that this really isn’t enough time to offer more than the most basic understanding and suggestions.

In some groups I have been in each member has had around 45 minutes for their own challenge; while in others we have concentrated a much longer period of time on just one or two people. You have to work out which is the right balance for you.

Whatever time you allocate to each challenge, the format that best works in my experience is as follows:

  • The person with the challenge outlines the support they are looking for, together with explaining the background. 
  • The rest of the group then asks questions. Their objective during this period is research – they should be looking to get to an understanding of the problem or identifying if there is a greater underlying issue that the person with the challenge is not aware of or opening up to. 
  • The person with the challenge then restates their question. This allows them to change their challenge if questioning has opened up a related issue, or to bring their inquisitors back on track if they feel they have strayed. 
  • The rest of the group then offers suggestions and solutions. The person with the challenge can only respond by saying ‘Thank you.’ There should be no defensive responses; they need to be open to new ideas. I’ll explain why this is so important in step nine. 


5. Be prepared

The commitment undertaken when joining a mastermind group doesn’t stop with attendance. You need to be fully prepared if you are going to take away the best ideas from your peers. Sometimes that also means preparing them.

Set some time aside before your meetings to remind yourself of why you are going and what you want to get from the session. After all, there is a high investment in terms of time and energy involved, so you have to ensure you have the best chance of a substantial return.

Before each meeting, ask yourself what your biggest challenges are at the moment and what support you would be most likely to benefit from. If you can’t think of anything at the moment, try again. I struggle to believe that anyone is in such a wonderful position in his or her career or business that they wouldn’t benefit from some advice, feedback or a different perspective.

If everything is going well, how could you find that extra 10% to make it even better? How do you identify what it is you’re doing so that you can keep on doing it or even improve?

If appropriate, prepare some background documentation on the challenge you wish to present to ensure that everyone is adequately briefed. Please be respectful of their time though, don’t send through a 100 page financial briefing 24 hours before the session and expect them to drop everything to read it!


In my next blog I'll share tips 6-10, in which we'll be looking at the importance of Chatham House Rule, honesty and accountability. 


Thanks for a nice sharing.

Thanks for a nice sharing. Your 10 steps are really good.

Thank you, I'm pleased you

Thank you, I'm pleased you find them useful. Let me know if you have any further questions as you set up your group

In order to get success in

In order to get success in life we used to take several kinds of beneficial steps; these steps include different criteria and in this article we have found a complete description on effective masterminds. That how with the help of effective mastermind we are able to add some effective ingredients in our success rate.

Thanks David, I'm glad you

Thanks David, I'm glad you found it helpful.

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