I was e-chatting recently with someone in the industry, and the topic of conflicts came up. As is true in any relationship-based business, conflicts have to be part and parcel of what meeting planners deal with every day. Internally, I've heard, you have to fight with execs and/or board members who want to place a meeting in their favorite locale, rather than what would best suit attendees. You deal with volunteers who don't do what they're supposed to do, or just don't show up. Externally, negotiating with hotels and other vendors are rife with conflict, for obvious reasons. And there's always the co-workers and bosses that make life, shall we say, interesting.
Since it's so often touted as a "relationship" business, conflict resolution in meeting planning is particularly tricky, since a lot of times those you're in conflict with on the vendor side are also friends, or at least people you likely will need to do business with in the future.
Some of my biggest conflicts have come out of working in a team situation and living and dying on deadlines: What to do when I can't move forward because someone else is dragging their heels in getting their part of the work done? I haven't come up with a good solution (fortunately it hasn't been much of a problem in recent years so I haven't had to!). I think it's pretty common, especially for meeting planners who not only have to wait for their own team to do what needs to be done, but also all those external vendors.
I also thought it would be interesting to ask you all: What conflicts do you run into at work that give you the biggest headaches (and why)? Feel free to drop a comment below, or e-mail me your tales of woe.