As event professionals, we’re always thinking of the nuances of planning a dream day for our clients. It’s our job to eliminate the road bumps and worst-case scenarios to the best of our ability, but it’s also our job to do so with a calm positivity. Mastering the two is oftentimes our bread and butter, if you will. As such, our clients rightfully view us as experts and expect us to communicate our expertise through our actions.
Events are stressful to host, whether it’s a wedding, corporate soirée, or non-profit fundraiser. People often attach lofty goals and considerable emotion to their events, hiring large teams of vendors to pull it off successfully.
As vendors, we can either contribute positively, with a calm and poised attitude that projects confidence, or negatively by letting frustrations and stress get the best of us. How you handle difficult situations and manage emotions influence how your clients perceive you and your overall brand experience.
When a vendor is consistently positive and solutions-oriented, clients will feel more relaxed throughout the process and enjoy a better all-around experience. But if they’re always seeing you flustered and stressed, they may question whether you’re fit for the task at hand, adding worries to their plate.
Choose to practice positivity.
If you could use a positivity boost in your business, use these three tips to shift your perspective, lift your mood, and enhance your client relationships from here on out.
Start on the right foot.
More often than not, client disagreements are a result of poor communication. Take time to evaluate your onboarding experience and look for ways to improve. For example, are you reaching out proactively with what to expect next, or do your clients email you to ask what’s coming? There will always be people ahead of the curve, but if you notice a pattern, bump up your communication timeline to demonstrate your readiness and alleviate stress of the unknown.
Likewise, are you establishing clear expectations for your work together, or are you assuming your clients have read every word of your contract? (Hint: They probably haven’t.) While you may lay out expectations clearly in writing, review them verbally as well to ensure everyone is on the same page. The conversations you have with clients at the very beginning of your journey will prevent misunderstandings from occurring down the line.
Assume the best in others.
It’s human nature to take feedback or criticisms personally. However, when you assume the best in others, you’ll find that you’re more patient with others as you allow them more grace. It’s much easier to remain positive when approaching situations believing pure intentions rather than assuming someone was intentionally malicious or deceitful.
Step into their shoes to understand their perspective. As an event host and planning novice, they’re stressed in their own right. They may have to answer to stakeholders (whether a boss or a mother-in-law), and they want their celebration to be perfect. Remain solutions-oriented and focus on addressing the stressful issue rather than blaming anyone or allowing hurt feelings to cloud your judgment.
Allow yourself space to think.
It can be hard to contain one’s emotions in the heat of the moment, so avoid letting knee-jerk reactions get the best of you. Instead, develop an action plan to step away when stress starts to take over. It can be as simple as a few minutes alone to take a few deep breaths, remind yourself to assume the best, and move forward calmly.
Or take a page from President Lincoln’s book. He would write “hot letters” to his generals without sending them as a way to express his negative emotions privately. So, the next time you receive an email that frustrates you, write your first reply in an offline doc or note. Then, come back the next day, delete it, and write the professional reply you’ll send with grace and kindness.
Positivity is a game-changing quality, not just for your business but for your relationships and well-being. But it doesn’t mean putting on an ear-to-ear smile when delivering bad news, which can come across as disingenuous. Instead, it’s about connecting with your emotions and the reality of the situation.
Clients take their cues from how we carry ourselves as professionals. If we present a disappointment pragmatically, while also providing alternative solutions, then clients will be more likely to move forward confidently with the new plan. Simply put, when you carry yourself positively, your clients will follow suit!