Athena West London gathers at London Wetlands Centre Barnes for summer event

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Felicity Lee, Response Ability; Joanne Sumner, regional director, Athena West London and Jane Michel, Jane Plan Felicity Lee, Response Ability; Joanne Sumner, regional director, Athena West London and Jane Michel, Jane Plan

“How do you communicate with your clients?” , “How do you know what your clients are thinking?” were two of the questions posed by speaker Felicity Lee, Chiswick Athena member, and business psychologist, to over 40 women at the Athena West London’s business women’s networking groups’ summer event at London Wetlands Centre, Barnes, where members of all four groups – Chiswick, Barnes, Ealing and Shepherd’s Bush - joined together.

Felicity, who runs Response Ability www.response-ability.co.uk said it was important to identify which type of person your client was and then you can communicate better with them. “What works well for one person can be a complete turn off for another,” she said. “Two thirds of the population are ‘Pragmatists’,” she said, “who listen for and present facts, while the next common category is “Practical Nurturers” who value personal loyalty, listen for and present ways to be of service. “Idealists” value making a different for others, while “Rationals” value competence, listen for and present logical options.” Delegates were split into four groups, according to their type, and asked to outline how they would buy a TV.

Athena member Jane Michel gave an inspiring talk about how she set up her successful business Jane Plan www.janeplan.com, which creates tailor-made diets and then delivers the meals, prepared by chefs, to clients’ homes. “I joined Athena even before I started the business in October 2010. I had no clients and now it’s 2,000 clients – the majority came from Athena.”

Jane gave some invaluable tips for delegates. For example, she said “Once a month, you need a “Starbucks” moment, don’t take your mobile phone, go to a local coffee shop and write down what you’re planning to do. This is difficult to do in the home or in the middle of an office. Get an intern – they are brilliant and will come with fresh ideas and add a dimension to the business.”

Crucially, there was a speed networking session where delegates had 45 seconds to promote their business. Everyone was encouraged to display three specific requests for clients or collaborators that would advance their business on a noticeboard so that connections could be made.

Joanne Sumner, regional director, Athena West London, said “Athena West London has grown hugely in the last 18 months – we now have four groups – Barnes, Chiswick, Ealing, Shepherd’s Bush and are keen to recruit more members. We are launching a blog in the autumn and want members to contribute.”

The September meeting dates are Chiswick, 13 September; Ealing, 18 September; Barnes, 10 September and Shepherd’s Bush, 26 September.

For further membership information and more details, please call Joanne Sumner on 0208 579 7659 or e-mail joanne.sumner@theathenanetwork.com; www.athenanetwork.com; Twitter: @AthenaWLondon Based on information supplied by Jackie Mitchell.

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