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How to Contain Your Emotions When Talking to Clients

At some point in your career, you will come across a client who’s just too difficult to handle—a client you find unbearable, someone who pushes you to the edge of your patience.

Learning how to handle these clients is a necessary skill, and you’ll have to push your own frustration, anger, and disappointment aside to focus on the task at hand.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize both our own emotions and those that others harbor. Understanding the rippling effects of those emotions allows us to guide our own behavior effectively.

While dealing with difficult clients, you have to use all the emotional intelligence you have at your disposal. We’ll tell you how.

1. Stop for a second

Say you’re in a meeting and a client is giving you a tough time. You’re getting frustrated and you feel as if nothing you say is getting through to them. Before saying anything else, pause. Remember that once you lose your temper and say something you’ll regret, there’s no going back. Once you’re in a calmer place, move on to…

2. Control the volume of the discussion

You’ve probably noticed that many people follow the tone of the person they’re talking to during conversations. If you’re in a discussion with a client and their tone starts to heat up, take a step back and start speaking calmly. Most clients will follow suit and lower their voice as a result.

3. Breathe

Before going into a meeting with a client who has proven to be difficult in the past, carry out some breathing exercises. These help activate the body’s natural relaxation response, which, in turn, manages stress by lowering your blood pressure and regulating your heart rate.

You could also try to meditate regularly if you find that you’re constantly troubled by anger or stress.

4. Try to shift perspective

Think about why you find particular clients difficult to handle. Perhaps you’re tired of your current job and want to look for a new one, or perhaps you find yourself better suited to work that has limited direct exposure to clients.

Or perhaps you have an issue with perspective taking. If you walk into a meeting thinking that it will be a waste of time, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and your meeting will be unproductive.

However, if you try to replace that negative thought with a more positive thought, you’ll feel better and deal with the client more effectively.

Try thinking: “if the client is unhappy with the work, I’ll make the required changes,” instead of “nothing makes this client happy.” You’ll feel better, and your client will walk out of the conference room happy.

 

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