“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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 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
“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 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 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 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
“"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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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 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 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, 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
“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

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

It seems that businesses have finally realised that Twitter is not simply a meeting place for people to share experiences of cups of tea and pictures of their favourite pets. Most businesses now have Twitter accounts and a number of senior leaders in the business world also tweet regularly. 

It's also good to see that many of those companies understand that it is important to try to engage with their customers and followers rather than simply promote themselves. I particularly enjoy seeing the creative and humorous ways in which some organisations interact with other users of Twitter.

Having said that, there is surely a line to be drawn. In his recent HBO show, British comedian John Oliver railed against corporations hijacking hashtagged conversations on Twitter to promote themselves, or simply inappropriate companies associating themselves with national events.

Examples he used included a restaurant chain tweeting a hashtag used to discuss domestic abuse to sell their pizza and a sex toy company tweeting in memory of 9/11. 

Oliver said, "Look companies, your silence is never going to be controversial. No-one will ever go, 'I can't believe it, Skittles didn't tweet about 9/11 yesterday'". 

So how do you choose when to tweet on an external hashtag and what to say when you tweet? 

I believe that one key step is to have a clear idea of what your Twitter persona should be. What are the brand values of the business? They should guide your activity on Twitter and other social networks.

As a very simple example, a company who wants to be seen as a leader in diversity would naturally look to tweet in support of International Women's Week or Martin Luther King Day. In fact, it might look odd were they not to mark the occasion. A similar interaction may not be so natural for a business appealing predominantly to young men. 

It is also advisable to picture the reaction to your tweet. Yesterday the Liverpool footballer Mario Balotelli tweeted his glee at Manchester United's 5-3 defeat at Leicester City. The response included a large number of nasty, racist tweets aimed in Balotelli's direction. 

I certainly don't condone the despicable response to Balotelli's tweet and I would defend his right to tweet his opinions and what was harmless fun. A company, however, would need to seriously consider the likely response to a similar tweet and how that response might reflect on them or offend others. 

It's too easy to go the other way and play it safe. I don't believe that corporate accounts should be limited to business conversation only. It's positive to see business tweeters engaging with their followers, answering questions, congratulating them or using humour effectively. We all know the old adage, 'People buy people'. Maybe people buy personality and social media allows brands to build a more rounded personality than previous routes to market have done.

However, there is a line and hijacking other people's conversations simply to promote your brand is way over it. Particularly when that conversation is about a topic as important to the people involved as domestic violence. 

Just as you shouldn't break into a conversation at a networking event by talking about yourself, so you shouldn't do the same on Twitter. Join the conversation for sure, but on the terms of those already participating, not your own. 

But how does a company decide when they shouldn't tweet at all? While I fully understand John Oliver's incredulity at a sex toy company tweeting about 9/11, why shouldn't they? Is he right to see that as controversial? I'm not sure. 

What are your thoughts? And if you run a business account, how do you decide what and when to tweet?

You can watch the full John Oliver segment here. Please note that it does contain language some people might find offensive and mild sexual references.

This week (September 22nd to 26th) is Social Media Week. Check the website for details of events near you. 

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