Navigating Awkward Clients

Posted on 01. Dec, 2009 by David Y in Freelance


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Recently at a “family” gathering over the holidays things quickly became awkward. The air became tense, eye contact was avoided and things turned south rather quickly to the point of avoiding each other all together.

So while sitting by myself analyzing the situation and watching a George Lopez show things became clear. Awkward situations are based on history but the resolution of an awkward client situation is based on more than just one factor.

  • Age difference – Often times things can become awkward based on age. Whether it be your younger than your client or the client is younger than you things can get off to a rocky start. The solution to this one is simple. Learn as much about your client as possible. Their likes and dislikes, there history and their goals. By doing this the age gap can be bridged.
  • Race – One barrier that shouldn’t be but sadly enough appears quite often, race. Black vs. white, Asian vs. Indian, whatever the situation may be such a barrier exists, it shouldn’t be ignored. The solution is knowledge. Educate yourself on your clients culture, avoid things that may be offensive and most importantly show the utmost respect and make your client feel comfortable. It pays off in the end.
  • Language – One of the trickiest things to deal with is a language barrier, English to Spanish, French to English, whatever the situation may be many solutions are available. Going back to educating yourself about your client goes a long way. Do they know much of your language? Do you know much of theirs? If the answer is yes then you’re in the best position possible. However if you answered no, then perhaps having a translator present will help or even collaborating with someone of that language on the project.
  • Expectations – More often than none we walk into various situations having a certain preconceived idea of how things should go and how they will turn out, even with this great mentality things will never go as planned and we should always be prepared for such a situation. When meeting with a client throw out all expectations, show up with a open mind and a backup plan for the most recurring “bad events” that do happen.

A simple well chosen and well timed joke can lighten the mood.  Most importantly viewing the positive side of the situation will go a long way into making sure things go well, and last but not least be confident in your ability to help that client of yours achieve their goal.

What are some ways in which you’ve dealt with a awkward client moment.


3 Responses to “Navigating Awkward Clients”

  1. favSHARE

    01. Dec, 2009

    This article has been shared on Go and vote it!

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  3. ThemeMoney

    10. Jan, 2010

    Very good read, some great points were made.

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