Firstly everyone you meet in life is different, we can have similar characteristics but there will always be something that separates us apart. There are also those characteristics that bring us together and understanding how to use these is a fine art. Stakeholder management basically the discipline of doing exactly that.

Those who work in business may recognize this from working or managing projects, but if you are really good at it you can use it help you in your day to day working life. There are two types of stakeholders internal and external. Internal stakeholders are people who are already committed to serving your organisation as board members, staff, volunteers, and/or donors. External stakeholders are people who are impacted by your work as clients/constituents, partners, and others.

My four rules for successful stakeholder management are:

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  1. Identify your stakeholders
  2. Analyse your stakeholders
  3. Plan and understand how to communicate with your stakeholders
  4. Engage your stakeholders regularly based on their preferences and analysis of how to best maintain your relationship then execute that plan and keep up your engagement.

Stakeholder Identification

Firstly there is a need to identify your stakeholders, they may be internal and work in same business, team, department or external such as an agency, consultancy, supplier or even a customer. You can do this by firstly carrying out stakeholder identification. Create a list of all your stakeholders this list will help you to analyse them and then to build a communication plan for your stakeholders.

Stakeholder Name – Its important to know the name of you stakeholders.

Job Role – This helps you to understand what there role is internally or externally.

Communications Approach – Do they prefer to be contact by email, phone or in person? Are they formal or casual in their approach to communication?

Key Interests and Issues.- What is their interest relating to the situation? What are their issues, are they related to the project of plan? An individual? Identifying this issues helps you to understand how you can negate or overcome them.

Current Status – Advocate, supporter, neutral, critic, blocker. – This also helps understand how to manage your relationship with the stakeholder. If they are a blocker you may need to get an advocate or supporter to help move a decision or issue forward.

Desired Support – High, medium or low – How much support do they require?

Desired Project Role (if any). – If you are working on a project do they have a role such as business sponsor, senior user, and technical specialist?

Actions Desired (if any). – Do you need to carry out any actions to help build or better the stakeholder relationship? Do they need to be informed of actions, outcomes or issues?

Messages Needed. – Understand what the message you want to convey is and make sure it’s appropriate to the stakeholders preferred communication channels and format.

Actions and Communications. – Think about the work relationships you currently manage. Try and break them into the two groups, Internal and External.

It is really important to keep this updated. You will get new stakeholders or stakeholders roles may change internally and externally. Keeping on top of this and using it to effectively communicate and execute your plans, objectives, actions or goals will always help you to succeed.

Stakeholder Analysis

Once identified your stakeholders you can analyse this information and understand the different types of stakeholders that you have (If you can remember the information that you listed then when you have to deal with these stakeholders you can quickly remember what is the best way to communicate with them).  It is also worth researching your key stakeholders, look them up on LinkedIn this can help you to understand their history and skills.They may have published articles or featured in the press, all of this information helps you to better understand your stakeholders

Stakeholder Communication

Communication is the key to success in everything, I have come to the understanding that by communicating with and understand others you are much more likely to get buy in for a project or idea. Even in execution of day to day operational processes this have help you be more successful by understand how to better communication the actions required or the reason why. Creating a communication plan for how you will communicate stakeholders is important. This will help you to engage them in a way that they feel comfortable with.

Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging with your stakeholders is really important, we do it all the time at work. A chat by the coffee machine or an email to a colleague these are both ways of communicating and engaging with a stakeholder. The more regularly you engage with stakeholders the better your relationship and the easier it is to communicate with them.

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Hopefully this insight will help you as much as it has helped me!

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