As an event planner, conflict resolution is a skill you must develop. You will need to defuse arguments or difficult situations that may arise. The conflicting parties will benefit from your calm demeanor and empathy. The goal of conflict resolution is to leave all parties satisfied with a solution.
Conflicts with Clients
When a negative situation presents itself with a client you are put in a unique position. Finding a solution between two parties is quite a test, but when you are one of the two parties, it becomes more challenging. Listen to the client's complaint and offer empathy. Next, ask the client if she has a solution for the complaint. You should consider a reasonable request and attempt to deliver. With unreasonable requests, you can offer to meet the client halfway.
A situation with a client may be out of your control, in which case you should acknowledge her complaint and offer a solution. Send the client a gift card with a note stating, “I am sorry we were unable to see eye to eye on this matter. Please accept this gift card as an apology.”
Whichever solution you choose, you should act with haste. Resolve the matter in a timely fashion.
Conflicts Between Clients and Vendors
Complaints are liable to arise between a client and a vendor at some point in your career as an event planner. If the complaint occurs prior to the event, attempt to rectify the situation before the event begins. For example, a floral designer may have used the wrong flowers in an arrangement for an event. With the event hours away, call the floral designer to correct the mistake.
Other complaints may not be as easy to solve. If a vendor has damaged the client's personal property during the setup of an event, the solution may not be as obvious. In this case, reserve judgment until you can assess the situation and speak to both sides. A reputable vendor should be insured specifically for these occasions. Still, offer sympathy to the client and prompt the vendor to at least write a letter of apology.
Conflicts Between Staff Members
Conflicts among staff members range from the simple to the serious. Adopting an open-door policy to mediate between two staff members is always a good idea. Solve staff problems fairly without taking sides and avoid letting the situation escalate out of control. Never tolerate bad language or physical violence. Violence in the workplace is cause for immediate termination and perhaps police involvement.
Conflicts Between Guests
Conflicts between guests will occur during events. Venues such as bars or nightclubs may have more conflicts because alcohol is served. With guest conflicts, simply separating the two guests may solve the disagreement. If a conflict between guests becomes violent, do not attempt to break up the argument, merely call the police. It is preferable to have a security detail at events to avoid guest conflicts altogether.