“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 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
“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
“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 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 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
“'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
“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 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
“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
“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, 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 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 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
“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’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
“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 '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
“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 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
“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 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 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 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
“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 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
“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

Michelin Star Relationships

If you find it hard to approach people or build genuine relationships at a traditional networking event, perhaps there is another way.

Over the last few weeks I have been fortunate enough to run three small events for some of my clients and close network. I’ve run the events in association with Aveqia, a Swedish business taking their first steps overseas with a launch in London. The feedback has been quite extraordinary, consistently the best feedback of any events I’ve run or experienced.

The feedback is based on a number of factors, much of it founded on the surrounds and experience provided by our host. One thing that really stood out though, and an important factor for me, was the ease with which conversations with strangers started and the strength of the bonds formed over the course of each evening.

So, how did we manage to achieve such success? The concept itself isn’t new, something I’d call activity-based networking. It’s an approach that’s been used for years in corporate team building events but not as often as a tool to enhance the quality of networking events.

Instead of simply putting a group of strangers together in a room and leaving them free to exchange business cards, you create an environment where they work together and share. In the case of Aveqia, who’s strapline is ‘Connecting through Gastronomy’, groups of twenty split into smaller teams, with each team creating one course of an amazing four-course meal under the guidance of chefs with Michelin Star experience, having worked with such luminaries as Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck in Bray, Alain Ducasse in Paris and Jean Christophe Novelli.

The group then joins together to enjoy the meal they created, accompanied by a perfectly matched wine selected for each course.

As I write this blog I’ve just had a call from one of the attendees earlier this week. As a National Sponsorship Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses and the owner of his own business raising sponsorship for disability sports, Norman Lay of SIMS has been to more than his fair share of corporate and networking events.

Norman called me to update me on two of the conversations he’s had in the last three days. In one case he’s had extensive conversations that look to be leading to a potential management deal; in another he’s arranged a meeting with the decision maker at a company who could be a very large sponsor.  

Norman said to me, “I’ve never networked in a better atmosphere. Within fifteen minutes everyone was laughing and joking with each other and we were running between all of the groups, not just sticking to our own.”

I don’t often run my own networking events but, when I do, there is one main rule. Never engage in the ‘Networking Dance’ of elevator pitch exchanges. Don’t ask ‘what do you do?’ but find out what you have in common. Build rapport and identify people you can build a relationship with over the long term.

At these recent events I haven’t needed to stress this advice (even though I might have mentioned it!). The activity takes over and people simply start working together straight away. And once the meal was over, people stayed around. On the first two occasions I caught my last train home at midnight with four minutes and then with 45 seconds to spare respectively. This week I took a taxi!

There are two things we can take from this experience. First of all, if you are hosting networking events or bringing clients together, what can you do to increase the chances of people bonding quickly? Rather than just bringing everyone into a room and offering them free food and drink, can you do something slightly different to get them working together?

Secondly, whenever you go to a networking event, remember the golden rule. Don’t get sucked into The Networking Dance, find what you have in common and have fun with people. Look to create the bond that will mean you’ll want to stay in touch with them after the event…and they with you.

Networking events are merely a catalyst to building your network and developing relationships. Venues such as Aveqia are invaluable in accelerating that process and creating connections that really work. If you find it hard to approach people or build genuine relationships at a traditional networking event, perhaps there is another way.

Comments

Great evening Andy. I was at

Great evening Andy.

I was at number three and helped to put together "the best starter we've had so far" - as Peter the chef said (sure he says that to all the teams!).

Inspiring food, inspiring people, all in all an inspiring event.

Count me in for the reunion. Marcus

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