The Great Expectations

1. “What’s the budget?”

…This is the first question that usually comes to mind when discussing a new event project with a client. It is a question that is universally recognised throughout the events industry.

Event organisers need a budget from their clients, AV suppliers need one from the event organisers. Having a budget sets a marker for all involved and enables a client’s expectations to be managed more effectively.

However, the budget is not the only aspect involved in correctly managing a client’s expectations. Here we will look at seven key factors, which we believe will allow you to appropriately manage your client’s expectations and build a strong and lasting relationship.

2. Anticipate your client’s needs before they see them themselves

Remember the client has come to you as you are a specialist in your field, and as such will have a broad view of the options available. Analyse the brief and advise your client of some creative solutions that will benefit them. Not only have you proven that you are forward-thinking, but you will also gain their trust.

3. Communication

Another factor that gains trust, and is so important to any project is good communication. Communicate regularly and freely with your client – maintaining a good communication flow helps you to manage their expectations, and do so in a way that the client will understand, do not use unnecessary jargon.

Put a clear focus on communication, inform your client of the means by which they can contact you. If for whatever reason you may be unavailable, make sure they know who the next point of contact is. Do this first and foremost in the initial briefing meeting and/or email.

If in doubt communicate! It could save you a lot of stress.

4. Be honest, be human

Following on from communication, be honest and upfront with your client. There are changes and swerve balls in most projects. If something is not going to work or adjustments must be made – let the client know. The client will respect you for your honesty and it will help them adjust their expectations.

5. Collaborate and Listen

Work together with your clients (and suppliers) to come up with an innovative solution to the brief, ideally in the first concept meeting. There is nothing better than to have a team of specialists together, bouncing ideas off each other and finding the perfect solution. But, remember to listen to your client, they are paying your bills. Put forward proposed ideas but also be receptive to what the client wants. Always allow them to freely voice their vision and respond accordingly. People like to be heard, and this is another great opportunity to build trust. Listen carefully, then offer your expertise.


6. Make it personal 

Get to know your client, not just from a business perspective but also on a personal level. Ask them what they did over the weekend, about their kids, about their interests outside of work. If they notice you paid attention to their passing comment on a Friday afternoon, just think how confident they will feel with you at the helm of the project they gave you.

7. Set goals and agree on milestones

As with any project, setting goals and milestones is the key to success. Outline with your client the activities that need to be achieved, when they are due, and who is responsible for ensuring they are completed. Setting clear and concise goals from the beginning of the project will ensure that everyone is fully aware of what is expected of them.


Managing client expectations is an ongoing process, their requirements of you (and you of them) may differ from project to project. The key is impeccable communication between yourself and the client building a relationship throughout the project and beyond that is built on trust and mutual respect for one and the other. Managing your client’s expectations throughout will guarantee that you will meet and exceed their expectations providing them with a custom experience that is second to now resulting in higher client retention and loyalty…