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

Is Networking Really Dead?

"Networking is Dead Says Best Connected Man"

The headline in this morning's Times newspaper seems to herald the death of networking, the last rites being delivered by an unimpeachable source.

As is so often the case, however, the article that accompanies the sensationalist headline, offers something quite different.  

The opening words of the article firmly establish the perception of 'networking' held by the journalist, Will Pavia. He's clearly not a fan and he's not alone. Most articles I see in the mainstream press seem to disparage networking, which is ironic considering the difficulty you'd have making your name in modern media without a strong network to support you. 

Pavia tells us that, "They were words that would have sent a chill down the spines of consultants, social climbers and hobnobbers across the world." He has set out his stall, networking is not for normal people, just those we look at with disdain.

Every article that reinforces the belief that networking is the preserve of a few people, painted as characters you'd actively cross the room to avoid, does damage to the standing of one of most important activities anyone can pursue to develop their career or build their business. And it is these characters who feel the brunt of many such pieces.

Painting a similar grubby picture in a recent edition of The Economist, their columnist Schumpeter initially makes the point that "networking is not just for the elite" but goes on to describe networking as "schmoozing" and advises readers to "abandon all shame", flatter those you target, "pretend to disagree with your interlocutor before coming around to his point of view; that gives him a sense of mastery" and "be calculating, ruthless and shameless".

The challenge with both articles is that they suffer from the same basic misunderstanding of what networking actually is. They perceive networking to be based around events where people trying to climb the social ladder run around desperately trying to engage the attention of those a few rungs above them. 

No wonder they have such a dismal view of networking! And perhaps it's no coincidence that both articles centre themselves around Davos. I've never had the dubious privilege of attending the World Economic Forum but I'm sure there is no end of career climbers to choose from, all stalking their prey and clutching at Schumpeter's advice, desperate to get their business cards into the paws of the great and powerful. 

Networking is not about events, conferences and star studded parties though. Sure, they provide opportunities to get in front of influential people but you'll struggle to grab a meaningful conversation or develop a relationship with the rich and powerful in such environments. 

The Times article actually has some good points to make, they're just hidden behind the hype. Rich Stromback, the 'Best Connected Man' referred to in the headline, says that people should stop trying so hard to make a strong first impression. "The shared struggle to look and sound right had made everyone deeply forgettable", he said."I'd almost rather make a bad first impression and let people discover me over time than go for an immediate positive response."

I've constantly battled against the standard 'Networking Dance'. The exchange of 'what do you do' and elevator pitches preceding every exchange of business cards that never get followed up. As Stromback says, "Nobody wants to have a networking conversation....they are hungry for real conversations and real relationships."

This obsession with Davos as the pinnacle of networking is dangerously distracting us from the reality of relationship building and development of networks of people who support, champion and challenge each other.

Every day, every minute, all over the world, people are networking. Yes, they are meeting each other at networking groups and on networking sites, in their local coffee shops as much as in the higher echelons of power. But they're also networking on a smaller scale, in small groups or one to one. 

They are finding out what they have in common, developing rapport, establishing relationships and building trust. They are learning about each other and learning about themselves. They are offering and receiving support. 

This is happening constantly. Since the financial crash even more people have recognised the importance of building their profile beyond their immediate colleagues, finding new sources of information and protecting themselves from redundancy and unemployment.

Internal networks are growing inside large organisations; companies are starting to understand the power of breaking down silos and sharing information more widely; individuals are connecting online and face to face.

With the growth of small and micro businesses, entrepeneurs are busily building strong networks who will talk about them, help them overcome their challenges and connect them.

Far from being dead, networking is alive and kicking 

Comments

When you define networking as

When you define networking as 'meeting people and making connections' it will never die unless we all turn into hermits.

Absolutely Jackie, the

Absolutely Jackie, the problem stems from a complete misunderstanding of what networking really is

I have networked all my life,

I have networked all my life, in business when I was an employee, more when I ran my family business, in Rotary (I was a member for 20+ years) and in every hobby and pastime. It is invaluable.
Just one illustration, not related to me specifically. I attended a couple of years ago an export event from UKTI. One of the speakers was a young man whose business had very successfully exported to Rumania.
He expressed one legal difficulty that had cropped up recently was the only cloud on his horizon.
We then went off for a coffee break, after which he announced that a lawyer with specialist knowledge of Rumania had solved his problem. Let's keep talking to each other.
David Fish
David Fish Marketing
Spain and Spanish are my specialities.
I communicate in Spanish!

That's a great example David,

That's a great example David, thank you. I see such connections happen routinely at my talks and other events I attend but, of course, they don't make good copy for journalists!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

By posting a message, you accept that your message and other personal details about you will be analyzed and stored for anti-spam and quality monitoring purposes, in accordance with Mollom's privacy policy. For more details see our privacy policy.