How to Handle an Abusive Client

  • Share
  • Read Later

Some clients are demanding; others are downright rude. If you’re not in a position to stop working with a difficult person, prepare yourself instead. Expect your greedy, selfish, or angry client to act poorly so you won’t be caught off guard. When you sense that he is about to say something hurtful, say to yourself: “Here it comes.” After he delivers the blow, take a deep breath and pause until he realizes he hasn’t provoked you into losing your cool. Then say something like, “Say that again?” or “Do you really mean what you just said?” This is often enough to cause him to reflect on his behavior and change his approach. If not, at least you didn’t get flustered. The conversation may still be stressful, but preparing keeps you from being blindsided.
Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage

Purchase the HBR Management Tips book