“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
“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
“"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
“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
“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
“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 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
“'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 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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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'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, 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 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
“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
“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
“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 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 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

Why the Death of the Business Card Has Been Widely Misreported

A couple of weeks ago an article in Bloomberg Businessweek asked how business cards survive in the 'Age of LinkedIn'. The article's author, Roger Bennett, quoted Mo Koyfman of Spark Capital describing business cards as 'so horse-and-carriage'. He went on to describe the range of technological innovation designed to commit physical business cards to the annals of history, including 'Bumping' smart phones, applications that share virtual cards and LinkedIn itself. 

Attempts to replace the humble business card in its instantly recognisable format predate smartphone technology and, indeed, the rise of social networking. A few years ago CD-Rom cards were going to be 'the next big thing' in networking. You could offer people not just a business card but digital information on your company and its products and services that people could access on their computer as soon as they got back to the office.

I've also seen business cards in all shapes and sizes, as well as different textures. Anything to make them stand out from the pack.

All of these attempts to replace business cards, or to simply do something different, miss the key point. As does Bennett's article.

In exploring why business cards have resisted such innovations, Bennett looks at the ease of the lack of technology, the fact that not everyone has a compatible device and even the enjoyment of the act of exchanging cards. Bennett quotes one expert as saying, "The act of theater surrounding the exchange of a business card allows for flirtation, self-expression, and recognition. Bumping may be fun, but in comparison to analog business card exchange it's the difference between having sex and merely exchanging bodily fluids."

Interesting analogy aside, some of the points made are valid. However there's a simple fact that has commonly been overlooked about why business cards work and why their effectiveness lies in their simplicity.

When I exchange business cards with someone it will often follow a brief conversation in which we have found some areas of mutual interest and, perhaps, agreed some areas in which one of us will follow up with the other. The act of exchanging cards not only acts as a commitment to follow up as agreed, it also acts as a reminder.

I may well be at a networking event, exhibition or conference where I am going to speak to many people. Even if I am in a 1-2-1 meeting, it may be just one of many before I am next at my desk. The physical business cards I have collected, possibly with notes I have been able to quickly scribble on the back, act as a reminder of who I have met , what we have discussed and to what I have committed.

I often find that I'll return to my desk the day after an event and be able to recall people and conversations from the night before by looking at their business card. If we had 'bumped' phones to exchange data, their details would be lost in my address book and I might forget all about our conversation.

If you only input people's data into your address book after meeting them briefly, how many of them would you remember if you then saw their name one month later? And how many of us will genuinely sit down and type notes and reminders into our smart phones either at the time or immediately after an event?

As I write this, I have a business card sat next to my computer to remind me to follow up on a conversation I had earlier this morning. For me they act as the perfect physical prompt. Move them completely into a virtual existence and that benefit would be completely lost.

This is the same reason that CD-Rom cards were destined to fail (along with the rise of more efficient technologies). You couldn't write reminders on them and you only wanted the card for the contact details. Who wants to access a CD-Rom to find someone's phone number or email address?

There is a role for technology that helps us to share personal information and connect, but it can't replace the business card as a simple tool that works for everyone. Co-founder of CardMunch, Sid Viswanathan, says in Bennett's article, "The business card remains pervasive. Our goal is not to kill it but to thoughtfully replace it".

Perhaps instead, they should accept that business cards are here to stay and look to complement them, not replace them.

Comments

Business cards seem to always

Business cards seem to always be around. It's a physical, visual card with important contact information. I agree that if you bump information through smartphones, those will definitely get lost within someone's contact list. For me, there are things that I don't think I can get used to in the business world. So I will be using business cards for a long time.

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