Last time on the blog we shared the 5 barriers to effective communication and engagement we see most frequently between our clients and their stakeholders. This week we are sharing our steps to more effective engagement.
1. Build your internal team’s skills in communication and engagement. Effective internal communication and engagement directly impacts external engagement – the two are not mutually exclusive. Upskill yourself and your team to better understand the fundamentals of communication and engagement and how to create trustworthy and effective internal and external relationships.
2. Be crystal clear on who you are and what you have to offer. We are all bombarded with information all day long and we take less than a second to decide what is relevant or interesting to us, so to connect and start building effective relationships, you need to be absolutely clear on what you have to offer an individual or a group and why it would matter to them. Get clear and precise about who you are, who it matters to and why.
3. Identify and get to know your stakeholders through research (surveys, interviews, desktop study) and by opening conversations with them. The more you understand about who you are talking to and their wants and their needs, the easier it will be to connect with them and reach your common goals, resolve issues, build long lasting and loyal relationships, and improve your reputation.
4. Build your communication and engagement plan to include a mix of formal and informal engagement. Effective engagement requires some structure, but relationships are built through personal connection and interaction. Pick up the phone to a client or a customer outside of your regular meeting structure, go for a coffee or create a less formal channel of communication with a wider audience such as a drop-in session or a regular open door policy.
5. Be clear and transparent with stakeholders so they know what to expect from you and why. Relationships are at their most effective when there is stability and a level of predictability. This allows trust to grow, builds a clear understanding of boundaries and lays the foundations for healthy debate to resolve issues and find mutually beneficial outcomes.
Every client is different, and solutions must be tailored to desired outcomes and specific stakeholders and audience groups. If you would like to know more about our stakeholder research or our unique reputation score system where we can tell you how your stakeholders rate your reputation, then please open a conversation with us today.