Most clients are okay to work with. In fact, some are pretty darn good, and others are downright great. But there are also those who are, shall we say, difficult. The kind of client who makes you want to scream, shout, and pull out your hair. With them, you’re wishing for the project to end before it’s even really begun, sometimes. But guess what? They’re just a part of life in voice over, and if you want to succeed, you’re going to have to learn to deal with them. Use these strategies when working with difficult clients to make your life just a little bit easier.
1. Think before you speak. Communication problems usually go hand-in-hand with difficult clients, so it’s important that you choose your words very carefully. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Also, when discussing project details, let them take the lead, and mirror your responses and attitude after them. This will make them feel more comfortable, which will also be better for you. Stay away from using ultra-hip language or icons.
2. Be specific and use measurable terms. When you’re trying to come together on a project, it’s best to speak in clear, concise statements that get your message across. Being vague and saying things like, “I’ll have it ready sometime next week” is a bad idea. Instead, say, “I’ll have it ready on Tuesday the 4th.” This doesn’t just apply to due dates, either; it’s a strategy that you should use in all your interactions.
3. Keep the focus on the end product. Remember that you’re both working toward a common goal. While you may not agree with everything, at the end of the day, you both want the same thing - a great-sounding recording that meets all the criteria the client asked for. Make this your focus, and take the necessary steps to make it happen. This may include questions to the client, edits, re-reads, whatever - just make sure that the final result is one that is pleasing to you both.
4. Know when to bow out. Sometimes, personality clashes cannot be overcome. When this happens - and you’ll know it when it does - make a graceful exit and bow out of the project. Sure, it may be a blow to your wallet or even your self-esteem, but trust me, it’s for the best.