“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
“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
“'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, 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 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'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 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
“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 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 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
“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 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 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 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'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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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 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
“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
“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 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 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 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 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
“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

Ten Top Tips for Running a Successful Networking Event (Part Two)

In the first five tips on how to put together a successful networking event I discussed some of the key things you need to consider before you are even ready to open the doors. We now turn our attention to the event itself and what happens after the last person has left.

 

6. Sharing details

People like to know who is going to be at events they are planning to attend. It helps some decide whether it is the right event for them, while others like to be aware whether they are going to bump into people they have met before, and maybe make arrangements with other guests.

Giving out a printed guest list on arrival isn't the solution to either challenge. It is much better for people to have access to the guest list in advance to help them plan for the event. (Although you should encourage attendees to be open to random connections too.)

To overcome the administrative problem of putting a guest list together, keeping it up to date and not sending it out before everyone has booked, there are a host of social media sites that allow guests to register, pay and maintain their details. When I run events I use www.eventbrite.com, while www.meetup.com is another useful resource. Make sure you don't use a membership site which prevents non-members from registering if your event is open to all.

The other advantage of guests registering themselves online is that you can allow them to manage what information they share about themselves. Traditionally a lot of guest lists give away phone numbers and email addresses of everyone attending, much to the dismay of people who subsequently receive a lot of Spam. You should never give these away without permission.

For my events I invite people to add their website, Twitter username and LinkedIn profile link. That should be plenty to allow people to reconnect after the event.

 

7. The shape of things to come

What should your event look like? If you've followed Step One, you'll have a clear purpose for the event and know what you want to achieve. That should drive the format you choose. What do you want your attendees to go away having achieved and how can you best help them to get there?

If you are using a structured format, ensure you leave plenty of time for people to network with each other on arrival and before they leave. People will want the opportunity to catch up with old friends and connect with people they have identified as useful contacts and you need to afford them that opportunity.

If you are planning to invite a speaker, make sure that you are comfortable in advance that they will add value. Have they spoken at other events? If so, can you find out if anyone in your network has seen them speak and can give you feedback or speak to the organisers who booked them previously? Be clear with your speaker about whether you are happy for them to promote or sell their products or services from the platform. Your key focus should be your audience, not your speaker.

If you bring in someone who presents for a living rather than to promote their products or services, respect that and don't just expect them to speak for free. If you can't afford to pay their fee, seek to find out how you can make sure speaking at your event will be a worthwhile exercise for them. Be as proactive as you can in supporting them and you will attract good speakers.

Don't let your format get predictable and stale. If people experience the same thing every time they attend it will soon become easy for them to pass on future meetings as they know what they would miss. Encourage interaction with some creative interactive exercises and strive to involve your participants as much as possible.

 

8. The host with the most

Your work doesn't finish once people turn up. As host it's your job to make sure no-one is left alone. Many people are uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers, so you'll often find shy types hovering around the edges of the room and the bar. Look out for them, try to find out who they'd benefit from meeting and make introductions for them. Once they're in conversation they should be fine, but just try to ensure that everyone is comfortable.

Many people find it useful to have name badges when they attend networking events. Ideally these will attach with a clip, rather than a pin, as not everyone wants to stick pins through their clothing. Even better are magnetic badges. These are great if you are running regular events, you can design a template carrying your branding and ensure everyone's name is clear and looks professional.

Hopefully you'll have caterers you can rely on but keep an eye on food and drink to ensure that there is always enough available. If serving alcohol always make sure there are plenty of soft drinks as alternatives. And if serving tea and coffee also do the same.

 

9. When the music's over

When the last person has left you can sit back, put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done...well, for a short while anyway.

You should send out a follow up email soon after the event. Keep it short and sweet but you can use this opportunity to send a link to the attendee list to everyone who came (following the guidelines above of course), encourage them to follow up with people they met, let those who didn't come know what they missed and thank everyone who helped put on the event, linking to their websites if appropriate. 

If you are running a series of events, share details of the next event and where people can book.

 

10. Regular meetings

If you are going to host a regular series of meetings there are a few additional things you need to consider.

Don't take on the entire organisation yourself. Involve a team of people and spread the burden. I have seen so many groups start off wonderfully but lose momentum because the only person running them has lost enthusiasm and been taken for granted.

Are you going to meet at the same venue on a regular basis and will you meet on the same day and time on a regular basis? If venues and dates are likely to change, make sure you communicate details well in advance of each event.

If you plan to charge people for membership be aware of the tax implications, the need to be able to refund unused memberships if the network closes down and what the terms and conditions of membership will be. Even if you are going to run the network as a non-profit enterprise you are going to be entering into a commercial arrangement with your members and need to take that into account.

 

Best of luck with your event(s) and I hope it produces all of the results you seek. Please do share your own tips and experiences on this blog too.

If you'd like more detailed advice on running networking events, my 2005 book Building a Business on Bacon and Eggs, co-authored with Terence P. O'Halloran and Stephen Harvard Davis is available in book and kindle formats on Amazon.

Comments

I love this blog. It is very

I love this blog. It is very insightful.

Hi, Your blog is

Hi,

Your blog is fantastic...I am the marketing manager of a networking company based in Kampala, Uganda. Really trying new and more creative approaches for this market.
Would love to pick your brain more on this subject. Hoping to hear back from you.

Thank you Shiro, I'm pleased

Thank you Shiro, I'm pleased you find it useful. Please do stay in touch and ask any questions you have.

You can also subscribe to my e-zine at the top of this page, which you might find helpful.

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