My Top Social and Business Networking Experts


This series of articles spotlights some of the people I respect most as experts in the Social and Business Networking space, for a variety of reasons.   This list is not exhaustive and represents my personal opinions on the characters that enrich networking for me..........

I'm going to build it and add to it over the coming weeks, so if you don't see me highlight people and/or their sites that you respect, please let me know and I'll address it (assuming I agree!).  These people are not listed in any paricular order, but I will try to achieve some variety and diversity:

Andy Lopata

Now a director of the new online business network Word of Mouse, Andy Lopata established his reputation as one of the UK’s leading networkers during his time as Managing Director of BRE Networking. During that time, Andy spoke at events across the UK and co-authored two books on networking, ‘Building a Business on Bacon and Eggs’ and the Amazon UK bestseller ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’.

Since leaving BRE in January 2007, Andy works with large organisations as a business networking strategist. Andy has a genuine passion for networking and is on a one-man mission to help businesses understand why they need to take Social Networking seriously, putting into place a strategy to use it effectively. He clearly articulates why Networking is not just about sales generation, but is a powerful tool within the workplace to develop future leaders, break down silos and improve internal communication as well.

“At the moment, too many people either treat networking as a dirty word or go through the motions”, says Andy. “The term still conjures up images of the old school tie and rolled up trouser legs, but that’s not the reality. Networking can be a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes if planned properly and used as part of a cohesive strategy.

“Many businesses join networking groups because someone has said it's a good idea. Little thought goes into exactly what results they expect from membership and what they will need to do to achieve that return.”

For Andy, networking is not just a job, it's a way of life and he's a member of several organisations, both online and offline, including Ecademy, Ecademy BlackStar, overseas Chambers of Commerce and The Professional Speakers Association.

“At the moment, most of my networking efforts are focused on building my visibility and credibility in the corporate sector, as most of my previous work has been with SMEs. I split my time between three kinds of networking activity: profile-building, brain-building and referral-building, each giving me different benefits, to help me to grow my business.

“There are so many opportunities to network now, (I often get up to five invitations to events on the same day), that you need a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how best to utilise your time and energy to reach that goal.”

You can read Andy's excellent blog at and if you get the chance to meet him, make the time!