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

A Question of Trust: A conversation with Vanessa Hall (PART ONE)


This article originally appeared in The National Networker


“Building and retaining trust is the cornerstone of every business and personal relationship”.

The quote above sits inside the jacket of Vanessa Hall’s book ‘The Truth about Trust in Business’ and highlights the importance of trust in networking. With networking being founded on relationships, one could argue that trust is the ‘cornerstone’ of networking, and I don’t think you would find many people who would argue.

Certainly not Vanessa Hall. Vanessa is the Australian based Founder and Director of Entente Pty ltd and an award winning speaker and author who advises everyone from individuals to major global organisations about the importance of trust.

Yesterday, Vanessa launched the International Day of Trust, with the aim of ‘getting trust into the hearts and minds of people around the World’. I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about the importance of trust and the different ways in which we trust others.


A: Tell me a little bit about your business. It’s clear that trust is at the core of all that you do.

V: It’s everything that we do. We’ve only been around for four years, so still babies in the trust world but in the beginning we made quite a big impact. I work with businesses but also with personal relationships and more broadly in communities. It’s now expanding into international relations, so we’re working at a very senior government level and with the UN.

Probably the key difference with what I do versus everyone else is how I define what trust is. The model that I use actually describes in a visual way and a structural way how trust is built and how it breaks down so it sheds a lot of light for people in relationships, whether those relationships are in business or personal, in terms of what might have gone wrong in the past, how to get better at communicating and actively building trust on a daily basis.

A: Can you give me an outline of the model of trust that you use and the different types of trust?

V: The first thing I noticed when I was doing a lot of research on trust and asking a lot of people about trust was that it’s a word that we use all the time, and everybody in business that we speak to will say “Yes, trust is critical to my business. I need trust with my customers, need trust with my staff”, and yet when I ask people “what is trust, how would you define it?” I got so many different responses, it wasn’t funny.

I found that when we talk about trust we’re often talking about different things and when I asked people who said that trust was critical in their business “what do you do, how do you build trust?” less than 5% of the hundreds of people that I spoke to in the early days, said that they actually did anything.

The reason they said they didn’t do anything was because they didn’t know how to. There’s no practical guidance or model really for how to go about building trust, so that’s where the conflict started for me.

I looked at where there is trust and where there is no trust, when trust breaks down, what does that feel like for people, when there is trust and when there’s none and I worked backwards then to come to a definition of trust.

So the way I define trust is that it’s our ability to rely on a person or a group of people or an organisation or on products and services to deliver a specific outcome. There are actually thousands of points of trust in our day, every single day. And we’re often unaware of those. Everything from the alarm going off in the morning to wake us up, the shower being hot enough, the toothpaste tasting the way you want it to taste. We generally just trust that all those things are going to work for us and play the role and deliver the outcome we expect from them and we become aware of it when that outcome is not delivered.

So then I looked at what it is that we actually want. What happens that makes us feel good and what happens that makes us feel bad? And I came down to these three core things that I talk about.

The first is understanding that we have expectations. Those expectations come from previous experiences, if we’ve had a previous experience with that person, that organisation, that product or that service. It comes from things that we read or things that we see. Marketing material, for example, creates expectations of what our experiences are going to be like. It comes from things that other people tell us. Referrals actually create expectations about our experience. And they come from what I call “similar experiences”, so I’ve had and experience with one bank, therefore I think all banks are going to be the same. I’m going to have the same experience in all of them, so it’s going to be generalised. So we all have these expectations, but we often don’t articulate them but we expect people to meet them and we get disappointed when our expectations are not met.

The second thing is our needs. So I draw on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. From a trust point of view we buy products and services and we engage in relationships with people to meet those needs. I’ve found that there is generally a core driving need for people and that need drives them in all the different kinds of relationships and interactions they have. For example somebody who’s esteem-driven will buy a car because it makes them feel good about themselves, they’ll buy the clothes that they buy for the same reason. They’ll engage in relationships, they’ll take a job; they’ll do all sorts of things that all feed that need for esteem. Likewise all the relationships for somebody who’s insecurity-driven will be centred around feeding that core need.

So we have expectations and needs, the promises are made to us by the other person, the other organisation or by products and services. The promises could be implicit or explicit, so they’re either very clearly stated or we had a conversation about them, they were implied, they weren’t really stated anywhere and they weren’t written down. We can’t recall a conversation but it was implied in a word that was used, or the body language for instance, or the size of the organisation, they can all provide implicit promises. So there’s a combination of these expectations, needs and promises which I draw like a wall, with two pillars of needs and expectations and promises along the top.

I would expect a structural engineer to understand how the wall would break down, how quickly it would break down in certain circumstances. There are some expectations and needs that are more important to us than others and there are some points on the wall that are more sensitive. If you took certain bricks out the wall would collapse more quickly. We know that to be true, there are some expectations and needs that if they’re not met by that person or organisation or that product where we might be a little disappointed but we still stay, we continue to engage. There are others that, if they’re not met we’re gone. As a customer, we’re gone, we just never buy again.

We found that the explicit promises sit in one part of the wall and when they’re not met, there are generally cracks in the wall. We tend to complain about an explicit promise which hasn’t been met because we can. Whereas we tend not to say anything about an implicit promise because we’ve got nothing to point to, no conversation to recall. So we let it simmer away and eventually the wall collapses. So the base of the model is about these, what I call ENP’s and trust actually sits on top of this wall, so it ends up looking like Humpty, and I talk about all the kings horses and all the kings men, can’t put that trust back together if you allow it to get to the point where it completely breaks.

Sometimes there are bricks that drop out, and we’re feeling very unsettled and disappointed but if it gets to the point where enough of those important bricks fall out or enough of those implicit promises are not met, the whole thing will collapse and it will break and 98% of the time people say they would never go back there again

So the whole purpose and the whole process of building trust is understanding the expectations and needs and being clear about those, knowing which ones are the most important to people and being very, very clear about what promises we’re making and delivering on those promises. Its one thing to make them it’s another thing to deliver them

We also need to understand what are our expectations and needs in this engagement and what are the promises being made to us, so there are two sides, two walls within that relationship. It’s the basis of the trust model. The book, “The Truth about Trust in Business” actually has diagrams all the way through it showing the wall in different stages, in different situations, and how it might play out and how it might break down.



In part two of my interview with Vanessa Hall next month we talk about the different types of trust and how to apply them, the role of trust in passing referrals and some of the pitfalls.


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