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Kim Sayatovic

Managing Difficult Personalities in the Event Industry

From vengeful vendors to crabby clients to feuding family members, here are tips on managing challenging personalities in special events.

Being a part of the event industry means that you are consistently in contact and working with a lot of different people at any given time. From other vendors to clients (and their families), you are sure to encounter all types of personalities.

The question is, what happens when everyone isn’t getting along? I’m sharing some of my tried-and-true tips and tricks for remaining neutral and helping everyone to work towards their common goal, a successful event.

Vengeful Vendors: Stop the Fight Before It Starts
As in any type of business, there are always going to be industry professionals who just don’t get along.

In most markets, the odds are that you or your fellow colleagues have a pretty good understanding of who in town is feuding and why. So the easiest way to prevent further problems is to try to make sure that they aren’t on the same event team at all. That takes you out of the middle and keeps them from adding on to an already contentious relationship.

Unfortunately, there will be times where you will have to work alongside people who either don’t like each other or just don’t work well together. When this happens, the best thing to do is nip it in the bud.

Set up a meeting or phone call so that everyone can at least get on the same page professionally. Remind them that personal issues are better left outside of work, and that everyone just needs to focus on having a successful event.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to get others involved to help, or even consider replacing one or both vendors.

Crabby Clients: Calming the Crisis
As event professionals, it’s inevitable that we will run into difficult clients. Whatever their issue is, the most important thing is that you always make sure to have your bases covered.

Does your contract list all of the client expectations? Do you have boundaries set that ensure your personal and professional security? Those are the types of things that make it easier for you to refer back to when a client goes too far. That isn’t to say every time a client gets on your nerves you should pull the contract out—after all, you don’t want to intimidate anyone.

The best way to avoid tensions with clients is to be respectful and to confront any concerns you have immediately. Don’t let things fester until you and the client are so unhappy you can barely work together. Explain to them where you’re coming from and why you are making the decisions you are, and then listen to them and what their position is. If a solution can’t be found, then it may be best for both parties to dissolve to contract altogether.

Feuding Families: It’s All Relatives
If your event is a wedding, remember that it is a highly emotional affair where two families are trying to blend and become one larger family. It can be difficult to say the least. From divorced parents to siblings who haven’t spoken in years and even to cousins who don’t like the bride or groom, it can sometimes be a mess.

As a vendor, remember that it’s your job to always put the couple first. Make sure that the couple is having the experience they deserve, despite what may be going on around them. This might require pulling someone aside and respectfully telling them that this event is not the time to hash out family issues, or shielding the couple from what’s going on altogether.

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t always control other people’s behavior, but you can control your own. So when trying to manage personalities, remember to always remain calm and respectful no matter what, and you can be sure that you aren’t caught in the middle of any drama.

Kim Sayatovic is the founder and chief creative officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans.


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