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

Meet the Football Club Who Think They Control What Fans Post on Social Media

Some people still don't get it do they? 

The ownership and senior management at Charlton Athletic, the football club I support, certainly don't. They have proven time and again over the last three years that they don't 'get it'. A once proud football club has been run into the ground through mismanagement, arrogance and, many believe, a hidden agenda that has nothing to do with results on the pitch. 

That is the subject for another blog though, and there have been plenty, this being the most recent

I want to focus on just one area that Charlton don't get, something that they have excelled in and, indeed, led the way in their industry in the past but, like so many areas, seem to be discounting lessons previously understood. That area is social media. 

Despite it being all around us 24/7 now and a core part of our lives, it is easy to forget that social media is still a relatively young medium. And like all new technologies, there is a learning curve. Many companies have had to learn the hard way that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the relationship between customers and brands. Our customers can now be more critical, in greater numbers, in a much more public forum than ever before. 

Many companies have tried to control the social media output of their customers in the past, rarely with positive results. They have often had to learn the hard way that you have to engage on social media rather than fight or try to control. Brands have had to learn to interact with their customer base in a different way to that of the past. 

The relationship between football club and its followers has always been different to the tradiitonal supplier/customer axis. Supporters don't, for example, see themselves as 'customers' (despite what the Charlton Athletic CEO Katrien Meire might think) but as 'fans'. At a club like Charlton, where fan action has saved the club from extinction on more than one occasion, this relationship is even stronger, with fans feeling like they are a key part of the club. 

The recent poor running of the club has, therefore, led to social media being a major battleground. Protests at matches and around the training ground have caught the headlines but the fire has been stoked on social media. 

You could, therefore, understand the club seeking to address the debate on social media. But, rather than trying to engage with enraged fans there, or leave the fire to burn away, the club seems to have taken a different route. 

One supporter recently received a letter from the club's 'Duty Safety Officer' after applying for a season ticket. Acknowledging supporters' 'concerns' and claiming to have 'listened and acted upon' some of them, the letter expresses concerns that this particular fan has posted comments on social media sites that are 'not particularly constructive'. 

Going on to suggest that 'it is not helpful when inflammatory comments are posted on such websites', the letter goes on to say that a season ticket will only be issued after a meeting with the safety officer and the signing of an 'Agreed Behaviour Contract' (the wonderfully acronymed 'ABC'!). 

In other words, we will only sell to you if you sign away your rights to express your opinion about our product on social media! 


At this point I should be clear that, while I know the person involved to say hello to, I don't know the nature of the comments referred to in the letter. This letter was passed to me by mutual friends. 

While I have no reason to believe that they were, if the comments in question were either racist or defamatory, then I would have absolutely no issue with the club taking action. The letter, however, does not state that and, as I say, I have no indication otherwise that this was the case. 

And if they were, there are better ways of dealing with such issues. 

No, this letter simply states that the comments were derogatory, inflammatory and 'not particularly helpful'. 

This is possibly the most clumsy, overbearing response to social media criticism I have seen from any company towards their 'customer'. And there has been some really strong competition. A football club that seems to stumble from one PR disaster to another seems to be on the verge of scoring another spectacular own goal. 

There are, of course, limits to the amount of abuse that companies can take on social media and many comments do try the patience of a saint. I certainly feel sorry for Charlton's social media team who do put up with a lot of abusive comments despite the fact that they are only trying to do their job in trying circumstances. It must be tempting to respond in kind at times and they do very well not to. 

Sales of season tickets that are conditional on a meeting with a 'safety officer' and the signing of a contract restricting social media activity is not the way forward though. Surely this goes against everything we have learned about social media engagement and the new relationship brands have with their followers online? 

But then, as Charlton fans we have learned to expect the unexpected, and incredibly crass, in recent times. 


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