Just as every project you manage in your business is unique, so are its stakeholders.
Whether your business offers a ‘one-size fits all’ or a ‘made-to-order’ strategy, it is imperative to employ differing communication tactics with your directors, suppliers, customers and even community members, as each require different levels of attention, management and interaction.
As stakeholders both impact and are impacted by your business, how you approach their attitudes, behaviours and expectations can impact your organisation.
Here are 3 steps to guide you to effective stakeholder communication management:
1. Identify all your stakeholders
The first step to ensuring you can effectively communicate with diverse stakeholders is identifying all the individuals, groups, unions and bodies that will require either immediate or ongoing attention. Assess and rank the stakeholders based on time, financial or legal commitments or even the power they can leverage on your business.
2. Set objectives
Now that you have identified your stakeholders and categorised them in an efficient manner, the next step encourages you to clarify and develop the messages and attention they will need, essentially, what and why are you communicating? Is it to inform, involve or engage them? Is it proactive or reactive? Your approach to how you communicate with the varying stakeholders will be based on whether it is to raise awareness, spread knowledge or change behaviour.
3. Choose a channel
When you’ve clarified intentions and developed a message, you’ll need to finalise what format or medium you’ll utilise to communicate with the stakeholders. Some stakeholders will respond effectively to a phone call or face-to-face meeting, while others will require paper trails, and some may just need to receive an email here and there. The appropriate choice will allow stakeholders to feel like they are receiving a personalised experience as well as allow you to keep track of feedback and message dissemination.
Ultimately, to communicate effectively to unique and diverse stakeholders, initial research and ongoing management will compliment the message you intend to deliver and your overall purpose. The relationship you have with stakeholders can be efficiently managed and fostered by the way you communicate.