Strong stakeholder engagement and effective stakeholder management are the cornerstones of a successful project. Do it right, and you’ll save yourself a lot of problems, time and money along the way. Do it wrong…and your project can become derailed before you barely start.

But take heart – the key to effective stakeholder management is planning. With a good strategy and tactical plan in place it’s possible to handle all the “curve balls” that can come your way during the stakeholder engagement process.

1. Stakeholder Identification:

Map out everyone who is affected by your project. What individuals, special interest groups, rights holders, community and indigenous groups, municipalities, or organizations should be considered?

2. Stakeholder Prioritization:

Now that you have identified the groups, determine which ones are the main or priority stakeholders (those who are more impacted than others and who may have the authority to block progress or advance your activities) and which groups have less influence or interest, but should be kept informed of your activities. Different stakeholders in the 4x different quadrants of a stakeholder map would require different communication strategies.

3. Stakeholder Communication – Methods:

Consider how to most effectively communicate with each group. There will be differences in how groups, as well as individuals, prefer to take part in the project dialogue.

4. Stakeholder Communication – Content:

Communicate early and with as much transparency as possible. Consider what resources and background stakeholders will need in order to understand your project, and how often updates should be provided.

5. Stakeholder Engagement:

Understand the difference in effectiveness when stakeholders are engaged rather than neglected. Is there two-way communication occurring that benefits both parties? Stakeholders will feel engaged if they are aware of being listened to, and it is demonstrated that their input matters.

6. Stakeholder Management Team:

Who is working with stakeholders on the project? Effective staff training and making expectations, company messages, and consistent reporting very clear to the team is essential for effective stakeholder engagement and use of company resources.

7. Stakeholder Data Collection:

Stay on top of projects by centrally managing all communications via specialized software and team support. Look for an easy solution that enables quick input, tracking and cross-referencing of information.

8. Stakeholder Information Reporting:

Make sure your software reporting functionality allows easy extraction and reporting on any aspect of your stakeholder consultation. Good reporting will minimize risk and maximize transparency and accountability.

9. Stakeholder Relationship Analysis and Improvement:

Continuously use findings to review strategies and methods of stakeholder engagement throughout the lifecycle of your project. Doing so will maximize improvements to stakeholder engagement and increase project support.

Powerful stakeholder management involves tracking the impact your work has on the communities in which you operate, while maximizing transparency and accountability. Keep your activities and communication aligned with the interests of your stakeholders, and you’ll produce much more effective outcomes.

Need to get control of your stakeholder engagements? With StakeTracker you can easily record, document, track & report on all your interactions and communications with stakeholders.

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