Event professionals work with many different types of clients. Often this is one of the best parts of the job. Clients can be delightful, perhaps even becoming a close friend or advocate for your business. Some clients aren’t memorable, devoid of any eventful experiences. Then there are the difficult clients in the event industry.

Have you ever had a client so difficult that you have considered to switch to a different profession? If so, we’re glad you didn’t. It may have actually been a boost for your professional development as long as you’re sure that you are not making some critical event planning mistakes.

Here are the types of difficult clients in the events industry:

  • Everything is an Emergency Client –  These clients cause a panic about minor details. They also take up a lot of your time.
  • I’m Not Sure What I Want Client – This person may constantly change their mind and lack vision. These clients can also find decisions crippling.
  • Know-It-All Client – The know-it-alls believe they know exactly how to do your job and everything about events.
  • Constantly Changing Deadlines Client – This client tells you they have plenty of time before they need a quote but then decide they need it by tomorrow.
  • I Don’t Really Care Client – This very hands-off approach can be frustrating. It is hard to fulfill the client’s unspoken needs or expectations when all they tell you is they don’t care.
  • Complainer Client – This client knows how to find a problem with everything and nitpick. You may find they often don’t know what they want, but whatever you offer is not it!
  • How Much Extra Will This Cost Client – This client is definitely keeping their tight budget in mind. They will remind you of this throughout the working relationship.

Here’s what you probably gained from the experience:


1. Difficult relationships improve your flexibility

At the time when you get into a relationship that is very difficult you will either become more flexible or get out of it. With a client, you cannot go with the latter option so you must look for ways for improving the relationship. One of these ways is learning the art of compromise and become more flexible in the process.


2. You will become a better communicator

To be able to effectively communicate with your clients and vendors is a vital aspect of an event planning business since a small miscommunication/misunderstanding can produce catastrophic outcomes. An encounter with difficult clients will surely give your communication muscles a workout since they will be highly demanding and may require you to alter your current communication platforms to satisfy their requirements. Difficult clients’ experience will help you immensely hone and enhance your communication abilities and this will definitely benefit you when dealing with future clients.


3. You will learn to see things in different perspectives

Everyone has different perspectives and dealing with difficult clients will definitely familiarize you with different perspectives that people hold. Encounter with difficult clients will acquaint you with a wider range of perspectives of seeing something as opposed to dealing with people who see everything the way you do and have similar perspectives as yours. Encounter with difficult clients will help you become more emphatic and will help you appreciate others’ perspectives.


4. You will become more goal-focused

When dealing with difficult clients, you likely won’t agree on much. But what you will agree on is the importance of reaching your goal. When you have little in common, a goal can act as a uniting factor. You’ll realize the importance of being goal-oriented and will spark more conversation around goals.

Learning to do that will help you keep things in perspective and stay on task. The goal is what matters. Every action takes you closer to achieving it or moves you farther away — a valuable lesson for your event-planning business.


5. You will learn to say no

Managing expectations and saying no are very valuable life lessons. A difficult client will give you ample time to not only learn to say no but perfect the way in which you do.


6. You will excel at managing expectations

Sometimes clients become difficult because they have unrealistic expectations surrounding the event. This likely will only happen to you once. After you’ve gotten off on a bad foot, you’ll learn from your experience and find ways to assure you and the client are on the same page from the beginning.

Managing client expectations early on is infinitely easier than realizing right before the event that they have an unrealistic view of what will happen or what will be gained. Address the expectations early for the best results. Don’t assume you both know or want the same things.


7. You will learn to walk away

While you should never walk away from a challenge, there are times where things go much deeper than not seeing eye-to-eye or having different personalities. Occasionally, the emotional output and stress aren’t worth the revenue. When that happens, you will learn another valuable lesson – how to fire a client. Firing is an important life skill. It’s one in which you learn how to cut your losses and move on so you both can find a better professional fit.



Dealing with difficult event clients can make you want to give up. But if you’re able to navigate those relationships successfully without throwing in the towel, you’ll likely come away from the experience with a lot of professional development lessons. Best of all, you don’t even have to pay (money) for them. Feel free to contact us for consultation if you ever need to.