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Selling your ideas – stakeholder communication

Our blended, computer simulation based, Managing Stakeholders™ defines a stakeholder as ‘anyone that can affect what you are trying to achieve.’ Engaging and communicating with these groups is core to business and project success.

These include colleagues, customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, alliances, joint ventures, the media, competitors, regulators, politicians, special interest groups, your manager and family.

Managing and communicating with such a diverse group can be a challenge. It’s not normally possible to please everyone and there are no perfect ‘right answers’, especially when you find that you have stakeholders who:

  • Know what they want, but cannot articulate it.
  • Know what they want.
  • Think they know what they want, until you give them what they wanted.
  • Think they understand the challenges.
  • Believes your other stakeholders are all politically motivated.

The power of the stakeholder

It’s important to understand the power and influence that your stakeholders have, this can provide a positive or negative impact on anything that you do. Everyone in business needs to develop the knowledge, tools and soft skills to feed into their stakeholder communication strategy.

Trish Thurley, Master Trainer for Managing Stakeholders™ says, “With all the disruption and overload we face on a daily basis, we need to understand the reason why; how to; and with whom we engage. This strategy is developed from our understanding of our stakeholders. It’s executed when you’ve built a proficiency in both soft and hard skills.”

Stakeholder power_interest matrix

You need to identify them, it’s very important to recognise and evaluate the impact and expectations of particular stakeholders. Senior people are powerful, don’t discount those who are very well thought of, well connected, or have disruptive power. One of the ways to map power and influence is using the Stakeholder Power/Interest Matrix. With each quadrant aligned to a communication strategy.

Understanding your stakeholders is just one of the requirements of successful stakeholder management, our Simulation: Managing Stakeholders™ also explores the effective and ineffective behaviours that lead to positive change. So that you can save time and stress by developing your confidence and reinforcing successful relationships with the right people.

Communicating with them

When you understand your stakeholders you will be able to choose and manipulate the methods you use to interact with them, this will always include some form of communication.

Communication is key in business. We communicate daily when trying to understand, persuade and work with other people. Often needing to be an effective communicator both formally and informally. Whether writing an email to a supplier, providing a report on progress, giving a presentation or dealing with those ad-hoc situations like being put on-the-spot by your boss you need to ensure:

  • Clarity – being clear.
  • Brevity – being brief but comprehensive.
  • Impact – being memorable and influential.

It is always a good idea to have a strategy when communicating with stakeholders, it means you will be more likely to be understood and remembered, our recommended strategy:

  • Thinking – Who are the stakeholders that you are talking to? Why are you talking to them? What do you need to say? How can you influence them? How are you going to position your ideas and find key points of interest?
  • Structure – How are you going to organise your thoughts to ensure Clarity, Brevity and Impact™? What are you going to say to them?
  • Execution – When and how are you going to deliver what you need to say?

The skills you need

Our Stakeholder Management Communication Skills Pathway provides an overview of our recommended high-level techniques, knowledge and soft skills to ensure stakeholder communication success.

Understanding and managing stakeholders

Simulation: Managing Stakeholders™ – Gain buy-in and build stakeholders consensus to benefit from lasting solutions to problems and avoid costly, time-consuming failure. This unique simulated learning method blends immersive ‘virtual’ gaming with face-to-face tuition to create a ‘real-life’ learning experience, so you can interact with internal and external stakeholders, learning from your mistakes – risk-free. More…

Creativity and innovation – We are a European distributor for Dr.Edward de Bono’s suite of creative thinking techniques.

Six Thinking Hats® – make meetings more productive, effectively evaluate ideas and make decisions faster. More…
Lateral Thinking™ – solve problems, generate new ideas and define and improve processes and products. More…
Course in Creativity™ – combines the above two to enhance communication skills, generate more creative ideas, reduce conflict and improve team results. More…

Executing communication

Think on Your Feet® – Organise and present your ideas to communicate with impact using verbal communication techniques. More…
Writing Dynamics™ – Increase your productivity by writing effectively, efficiently and fast! More…
The Skilled Presenter™ – Prepare and deliver like a professional, and focus on how listeners perceive you – delivering a knockout presentation. More…