Whether breaking ground on a new project or aiming to retain employees and everything in between, garnering the support of stakeholders is vital for the short-term and long-term success of your agency.
We’re sure many of you can think back to a time when you didn’t have the support of stakeholders, or maybe you remember jumping through hoops as stakeholders tried to put a stop to your development or initiative. It’s tough.
But, if you have the support of stakeholders, they almost act as advocates to your organizational leadership, agency and future initiatives; stakeholders are very powerful.
If the goal is to strengthen your relationship with stakeholders, you’re in the right place. Follow these three tips to get started today!
Start Conversations Early
Nobody likes to be the last to know, especially stakeholders. Therefore, it’s imperative that before a plan, development or initiative goes public that stakeholders are informed before everyone else.
There’s no more significant way to lose the support of stakeholders than by keeping them in the dark about plans that may affect them. But, on the other hand, when you don’t keep them in the loop, it can be seen as sly and sneaky.
Starting conversations with them early and keeping them in mind as plans are in development will increase your agency’s potential to gain an ally.
Show That You’re Listening
When a stakeholder raises a concern or asks a question —whether in person, online, or by phone, show them that you are listening. Doing something so simple, listening, will ensure stakeholders that your agency or organization cares about them and values their opinion.
This is why it’s so important for agencies and large organizations to hire a public relations specialist to field calls, emails, and coordinate in-person town-halls to ensure that every voice can be heard and responded to promptly.
Trust us, we understand with so much going on how difficult it can be to respond to every stakeholder, but hiring a person specifically for this will ensure that inquiries don’t get swept under the rug.
There’s nothing more annoying to stakeholders or anyone than inconsistent messaging. Therefore, a vital part of a strategic planning process should always include a communications plan for messaging to stakeholders and the public.
It’s essential to designate only a handful of key employees to act as a spokesperson for an initiative. They’re all informed with the same talking points to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Finally, be sure that the messaging you’re sharing with stakeholders is the same messaging you’re distributing to the public because word travels fast; inconsistencies will likely be brought to the forefront for questioning.