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

Start with 'Why'

How much time do you spend on managing your 'personal brand'? 

What others think and say about you is vital to anyone's success in business or in their career. It's not simply about whether people speak positively about you, or otherwise; it's the context in which they speak about you and your strengths. 

If I look back through the last few years of my business I can easily identify the one key ingredient without which I couldn't have succeeded. So many opportunities have come my way when I didn't even know they existed. In my absence, two or more people had come together, decided that they needed help with networking or referral generation, or needed a speaker on that subject, and someone mentioned my name. I was deemed to be 'the right fit' for the opportunity. 

Going further back, most of the jobs in my early career came through word of mouth, often people recommending me and then inviting me to apply for a vacancy. 

Yet, despite the importance of these conversations, very few people I meet at my talks and workshops seem to devote much time to working out what they want that message to be and taking responsibility for shaping it.

People increasingly recognise the importance of building a strong network, the growth of LinkedIn demonstrates that. Still they don't pay enough attention to educating that network. Helping the people to whom they are connected understand what they do well, who they do it for and when their services are needed. 

Step one is to understand what that message should be. What do you want people to say about you when you're not in the room? And who do you want them to say it to? 

When I ask that question in my talks and workshops the most common responses are:

''Professional"

"Reliable"

"Good at my job"

Such responses fail to make much of an impact. Yes, it is important that people perceive you have those qualities, but on their own they mean little. People first need to know why they should care; in what way you are relevant to them. 

Get inside the mind of your potential client or employer and ask yourself what it is about you that could have a positive impact on their role or their lives, that will resonate with them. The question you need to be answering is 'Why?' rather than 'What?'.

 

On Wednesday I spoke at a conference for public sector accountants. The speaker before me, Jon Harrison, shared Simon Sinek's 'Golden Circle'. Introducing his Golden Circle at a TEDX Talk, Sinek explained, "Every single person on the planet knows what they do, some know how they do it.  But very few people or organisations know why they do what they do."

Sinek went on, "By 'why', I don't mean profit. By 'why' I mean what's your purpose, your cause, your belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning...and why should anyone care?

"The way we communicate is from the outside in. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organisations, regardless of their size or industry, all think, act and communicate from the inside out."

Sinek talks about organisations or leaders beginning their communication with why they do something, using Apple as his first example. Apple, he says, don't say "we build great computers, buy one". Instead they say, "We believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently, the way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly." 

The key point, says Sinek, is that "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." People will buy from others who share their belief systems, they will employ people who think the same way as them. Shared values and beliefs are a key factor in creating the right opportunities for people to work together or for each other. 

But it's not just shared values and beliefs that count. People don't just buy what you do or why you do it, people buy why it makes a difference to them

As the title of Sinek's book says, start with 'Why'. But I believe that it is far more important that the why in question should be that of your target audience, not yours.

During his talk, Sinek shares the reasons behind the commercial failure of the digital recording company TiVo. Despite being best in market, he explains that TiVo has never been a commercial success because their message didn't appeal to potential early adopters. 

"When TiVo launched their product, they told us all what they had. They said, 'We have a product that pauses live TV, skips commercials, rewinds live TV and memorises your viewing habits without you even asking'. And the cynical majority said, 'We don't believe you, we don't need it, we don't like it. You're scaring us'.

"What if TiVo had said, 'If you're the kind of person who likes to have total control over every aspect of your life, boy do we have a product for you'?"

When working out what your message should be, start with your 'why' and use that to identify who you want to hear that message. Who will share the same beliefs? In whose life or whose role will those beliefs best resonate. Why should they want to talk to, buy from or hire you? 

Once you understand this, make sure everything you do and everything you say is consistent with this message. Be authentic in every action you take. 

If you understand why you do what you do and why that is relevant to your target audience, it will become much easier to craft and communicate the message that fits. And your name will come up in conversations when the fit is just right. 

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