Andy Lopata, one of Europe’s Leading Business Networking Strategists, says the ultimate skills of a master networker are generosity and gratitude
Networking is all about selling, right? Wrong. Despite popular belief , it’s about mutual support and collaboration.
Andy Lopata has been named by The Financial Times as one of Europe’s Leading Business Networking Strategists. In his opinion, networking is a powerful tool only if you have a solid strategy and you support people in your network.
Networking isn’t only for extroverts. Andy points out that essential skills such as listening, paying attention to others and looking out for people are introvert qualities.
He mentions that you should ‘understand the steps you need to take’ to use the power of networking and to build a Passion Tribe.
Top networkers know what they want to achieve. They engage with people as human beings, strengthen the relationship and wait for the right time to talk business.
‘Give without remembering and receive without forgetting.’ Though networkers have a business goal in mind, they shouldn’t forget to be generous and to build genuine connections.
Want to develop your networking skills? Learn more. Remember to share it with your friends and spread the passion.
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Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays – the best way to end a week and start another! Our guest today has been named by The Financial Times as one of Europe’s Leading Business Networking Strategists – Andy Lopata! Thank you very much for being here with us today.
Andy: Thanks for having me.
Moustafa: Very important topic in my opinion because networking, whether in business or on a personal aspect is about building a Passion Tribe.
Moustafa: If you don’t have a bunch of people that are like-minded, that support you in your journey, you are never going to be able to live a passionate life. So let’s start with the definition of passion. What does it mean to you?
Andy: For me passion is a combination of belief. You can’t be passionate about something you don’t truly believe in. So I think that for me is going to be the number one thing. So it’s belief and a real desire to take action. You talk about a passionate tribe. That would be people who believe in you and want to act on that and that action might be support. It’s getting behind you, it might be learning from you, it could be a range of different things. But for me, those two things really make up passion.
Moustafa: I love that. Let’s talk now about networking. What is the secret to networking?
Andy: The secret to networking, probably the number one, is to understand what it is and what it’s not. So it’s understanding that it’s about mutual support, it’s about collaboration. It’s about understanding that we share different strengths, different weaknesses, different experiences, different expertise. And if we pull those resources, we can achieve more than we can on our own. What networking isn’t is selling. And that’s where a lot of people get lost. So people lose their passion for networking if they constantly feel that they are having to sell or being sold to. People can get passionate about networking if they build relationships based on trust, if they find like-minded people and build a rapport with them and building relationships as a result. So the secret is really in loving what you do.
Moustafa: I love that! So let’s start by breaking it down and giving tips. I mean I’m sitting with one of the named by The Financial Times one of the most important people in the world for this specific topic. Let’s teach some practical steps. For example: I’m a big introvert, I don’t know or want to talk to people. I think my business is generated by itself. What can I do to get out of that shell?
Andy: Ok, well I think the first thing is to stop equating networking with extraversion because one of the biggest skills in networking is listening and paying attention to other people and looking out to other people. Those are not extrovert qualities, those are introvert qualities. Part of the reason why people think networking and extroversion together is because they equate networking with networking events. Networking events aren’t networking. They are tools in the networking process, but they are not essential, they are not compulsory. So if you’re an introvert, networking with people 1,2,3,4 a time and not 100 at a time. And introverts fell more comfortable with that. If you believe that your business will achieve whatever it can on its own, then think again. However successful your business is an its own. If you get the expertise and the experience and the ideas and the concepts and the facts of other people, that’s gonna add fuel. So you’re going to achieve more. So I don’t think you can say ‘I can do it on my own because successful people don’t’.
Moustafa: That’s a beautiful start. What we do now to progress into level 2 networking?
Andy: Have a strategy.
Andy: Once you’ve understood what networking can do for you, understand the steps you need to take to get you there. Networking is seen by too many businesses of all sizes as an ad-hoc afterthought and it shouldn’t be. If you look at almost any challenge within an organization, a lot of those challenges can, if not be solved completely, then certainly eased with the help of the support of other people. Also, by having a networking strategy you can call that support. So, understand what you want to achieve, understand how other people can help you get there and then work out what you need to do to get that support.
Moustafa: I like that, I like that. So now we’ve got level 1, level 2. Give me the master’s game. What differentiates master workers from those who are just intermediate?
Andy: The master networkers… First thing, everything that I’ve just talked about, they do it automatically. So they know their strategy, they know what they want to achieve. What can they then do is put that to one side and just engage with people as a human being. And just have fun. See, I can have a good fun conversation with you. I can not worry about what I want to get from you, what I want to achieve from that individual conversation. But because I have a networking strategy, if something comes up in the conversation and indicates you could help me achieve what I want to do, then in the back of my mind I can quickly process: ‘Is this the right time to ask you? Is this relationship strong enough and what’s the best way to do so to make it easy for you to help me?. When you can do that, the second part of the answer ‘What master networkers do?’ is that I can focus on you. And what the best networkers do is to support people in their network and not as a quick pro quote. My favorite quote comes from a lady who lived around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries called Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco, she was the daughter of a former British Prime Minister and she said: ‘Blessed are they who give without remembering and receive without forgetting.’ Give without remembering and receive without forgetting. For me that’s the ultimate skill of a master networker.
Moustafa: I love that! Give without remembering.
Andy: And receive without forgetting. Yeah.
Moustafa: That sounds very passionate, about networking and about giving!
Andy: And life, yeah! It’s about life as well.
Moustafa: Andy, thank you very much for being with us today! I appreciate it.
Andy: My pleasure! Thank you.
Moustafa and Andy: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I hope you found this interview as useful and as exciting as I did. If so, please leave your comments on the blog below and do share it with somebody who will find it useful. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website – then go to Moustafa.com. Until next episode – live passionately!