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

The role of networking – the networking myth

 

‘Networking’ is a term that is often misinterpreted, but it underpins any effective referrals strategy. After all, without a network, you cannot be referred. 

Businesses can easily waste a lot of time and money networking ineffectively. They lack the understanding of what ‘networking’ really entails.

There are two types of networking. The first type is the networking you do all the time and which underpins your referral strategy. You have a range of contacts we’ll call your ‘network’, made up of family, friends, business contacts, social contacts and people with whom you have a looser relationship. Without such a network, a referral strategy cannot exist, as the people who will refer you will be connected to you in some way.

When most people hear the term ‘networking’, however, they tend to automatically think of the more formal opportunities offered to them by business networks, whether online or face to face. We think of strangers meeting and tentatively approaching one another, one minute presentations or elevator pitches and the exchange of business cards.

For me, networking at its core is about the support people can offer each other, helping each of us to achieve beyond our individual potential. It’s a process where we can share our experience, expertise, contacts, ideas and feedback with those who need them and where we can benefit in turn from other people’s input. Networking events and sites formalise that process and create an opportunity to access such support.

It’s time to shatter a few illusions now. I’m sorry but networking groups do not produce referrals.

That may disappoint you if you have spent a lot of time and money joining groups in the hope of generating new business. Hours spent at breakfast meetings, lunches and chatting over canapés when you could have been watching The Apprentice . . . all wasted.

Before you panic and start cancelling all of your memberships, bear with me. I didn’t say it’s all a waste of time!

The Networking Myth is that new business comes directly from networking groups. Because of that myth, it is common practice to join a group, turn up for a while and then question why you have seen no results. The fact that many miss is that networking groups are merely the starting point; most of the business done and most of the relationships built are based on the understanding developed outside of the meetings.

This fact remains whether you are looking at an online networking group or one where the members meet face to face. In both cases you still need to develop strong relationships with fellow members and that means spending some quality time with them.

I focus a lot on the importance of the depth of relationships developed through networking. Yes, it is important to build a wide and diverse network, but the real power comes from people who know, like and trust you. That’s when people will go out of their way to support you, when people will genuinely want to refer you, when people will seek out the appropriate opportunities.

Referrals and support come not from networking groups but from your network. These are two distinct entities. Your network comprises people you have relationships with, whether they are personal contacts or people you know through business. Depending on the strength of your relationship, it is these people who want to support you the most, and networking groups are simply a way of feeding that network.

If you can focus on this, you can approach your membership of networking groups in a different way. Instead of looking for one off ‘hits’ – people who you immediately see an opportunity to work with or sell to – find people who you’d like to get to know better. Spend time talking with them, meeting outside of the network and developing a real friendship. Through doing so, you will soon count them as a key part of your network, rather than simply being members of the same group.

 

The Networking Myth

This can change your whole approach to events. Instead of scouring the room for people who might be in a related business, you can relax and find ‘friends’. By looking for personal connections, people you get on with, you move out of transactional mode and start, instead, to relax, maybe even enjoy yourself. In turn, this makes you a more attractive person to other people, who are tired of being sold to, and it becomes easier to forge the relationships you are looking for and get real value from your networking.

 

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