Points for Planners: Working with Clients

Event planners work with a variety of clients with a range of requirements. Whether you are organizing a small annual meeting or preparing everything for a massive convention, your success lies in the details and good customer relations.

Many times, failures in communication amplify in business. If you forget to pick something up from the store for home, it’s no big deal. If you forget to address an issue for an event, it can involve large amounts of money and have devastating effects. These effects aren’t just monetary either. They affect how clients view you professionally, and your reputation in the industry. There are advisory services for event planners that can help you gain clarity, and protect yourself from loss and liability.

Any successful event includes clarity. Clarity starts from your initial dealings with a client through to your invoice and beyond. Good business communication, particularly in writing, not only helps you and your customer understand the complexities and legalities of your business arrangement, but it is also something to fall back on if complications arise.

You will probably have many meetings to iron out the finer points of your arrangement. Event planners must ask many questions to get to the root of what a client needs for success. However, too many times a planner comes out of a meeting only to find that they have misunderstood what the client wants. There are many barriers that impede clarity.

When dealing with a client, be patient and use simple language. You grow accustomed to the terminology of your business, but your client will probably find it incomprehensible. Avoid legalese, acronyms and industry jargon and ask questions to understand client needs.

Be patient with clients who keep asking questions. Questions indicate where a client’s concern lies, or areas that need clarification. Listen to the question, summarize it and repeat it back. Once you confirm you have the essence of the question, answer it in plain, easily understood language. However, don’t talk to people in a condescending manner either. Find the middle ground between complexity and simplicity, and make sure the client understands.

Once you have finished your meeting, it is a great idea to type up your notes and send them to the client for confirmation. Even when you are diligent, your client may not see things your way. The details are important, especially when the contract is prepared.

Interpreting event contracts is complex, and some of the concepts are unfamiliar to clients, and perhaps even to you. You may need assistance to sort through the legalese so you can communicate effectively with your client. Advisory services for event planners are highly beneficial because they know your business, can fully explain contract clauses, and ensure that what you and your client agree to is what both parties intend.

Careful drafting of contracts from the outset is of upmost importance. If complications do arise, the court relies on the parties’ contract. Naturally, ineffectual provisions leave parties vulnerable.
Interpreting event contracts protects you, and helps you to explain everything so your client feels included, not excluded. If you feel overwhelmed, seek out advisory services for event planners such as those offered by Heather Reid Consulting.

Are you an event planner who dreads the daunting task of sifting through, what appears to be, endless amounts of paper of an event contract? Are you an event planner that is confused and uncertain about the meaning of contract clauses? Are you are an event planner that counts every minute and simply does not have the time to go through contracts to make sure all the T’s are crossed and all the I’s are dotted? Heather Reid Consulting specializes in educating event planners about the various parts of venue contracts as well as negotiation techniques. With over 20 years of industry experience, Heather Reid Consulting offers interactive on-site workshops, online webinars and advisory services to all event planners and for those interested in learning everything there is to know about venue contracts. Contact Heather for a free consultation today.

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