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

Should we be grieving Mandela's death on Facebook and Twitter?

Last night we heard the terribly sad news of the death of Nelson Mandela. As is common in modern times, the first I, and many others, heard about it was when South African friends tweeted and shared on Facebook that they were expecting an announcement from their President Jacob Zuma.

Within seconds of seeing the tweet above, my Twitter timeline and Facebook newsfeed turned into streams of breaking news, quotes by, images of and tributes to the former Robben Island prisoner turned South African President. 

I joined in. I shared images like the one above. I shared songs from the likes of The Special AKA and Johnny Clegg which were written in praise of Mandela in his lifetime. And I shared my own personal memories of the Anti Apartheid movement in the 1980s, Mandela's 70th Birthday tribute in London when he was still behind bars and his 90th Birthday celebrations when he joined us in Hyde Park. 

When the dust has settled I have no doubt that there will be queue of commentators waiting for their chance to attack the mass grieving on social media. They will tell us that it was self-indulgent. They will, I'm sure, bemoan the public nature of mourning in the modern world and long for the return of a more restrained, dignified time. 

I have no doubt that the criticism will come but I hope that I am wrong. Mass grieving is nothing new, social networks are merely a new medium. We will, I'm sure, be reminded of how much we, as human beings, need to share our grief when Mandela's body is laid to rest. The streets of South Africa will be a mass of humanity, not just at his funeral but all around the country. There will also be vigils at South African embassies and at religious ceremonies across the globe. 

Many of us need to share and I certainly found my ability to engage in discussion and share thoughts and images that inspired me to be cathartic. People who were on their own, or who were the only people awake late at night in South Africa and elsewhere, had the ability to come to terms with the death of their hero with the help of others around them. 

Social networks provide the channel for shared grief more often than many of us are aware. Facebook, especially, has helped to bring people together after the early passing of more than one friend in recent years. In one case a Facebook group is still open for a friend who died six years ago and many of his friends and family still visit and post messages on his Birthday, the anniversary of his death or simply when they have something they want to share with him. 

Social media is often derided as a modern day distraction that encourages us to be more open with our thoughts and emotions that some people find comfortable. Perhaps there is something in that belief but I believe that it often plays a key role in bringing us together, helping us to share and reducing the burden on many. 

Those who don't find it comfortable can take a break from their newsfeeds and timelines for a day or two. But please let the rest of us share our grief with others who need to know that they're not alone. 

Comments

I sense that this mourning is

I sense that this mourning is more of a salute to Nelson Mandela, a promise, almost, to share what he showed us, to respect what he did and his astonishing power to forgive, to take it all forward.

Sadness is not what I feel either within myself or from the social media expressions, more a wave of gratitude with many of us nodding at the reminders of his most famous quotes, for instance.

I think it's a mixture of

I think it's a mixture of both to be honest Babs. A lot of the South Africans I know are mourning, as am I. Nelson Mandela played a huge role in my teenage years through my twenties.

For others, such as my nieces and my friends' children who have posted, mourning wouldn't make any sense but it's amazing to see them join in and show awareness of the impact of someone who had left the main stage long before they would have shown an interest in the world around them.

Each to their own but either way social media is a positive channel that lets us share how we feel and how we are experiencing a moment.

Absolutely. I've been

Absolutely. I've been chatting with my children - 13 and 10 - about who he was, what he meant when I was young and what has come about since.

I do find it intriguing that I'm not sad in this instance - I am quite emotional, in general.

One thing your comment also has me wondering, what effect might social media have had in those days.

That's an excellent question.

That's an excellent question. Would it have been easier to put more pressure on the politicians and sportsmen who appeased the Apartheid regime, for example?

We would certainly have known more about the horrors inflicted by the regime, but that doesn't seem to have made much of a difference in Syria

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