5 steps to developing your stakeholder communications plan.

5 key elements to your stakeholder communications plan – check out these tips on how to effectively keep your interactions productive!

If you want your project to succeed, you need to have excellent communication with your stakeholders. A communications plan is a documented strategy for what you are trying to achieve: who you are trying to reach with your communications, when you will reach out to them, what key messages you will aim to get across, and finally how you are going to distribute that message.

 

1. Developing your key messages
If you want to get buy-in from your stakeholders, they must understand what your project is trying to accomplish, and the potential benefits for them. For example, if you are proposing to build a new manufacturing plant, communicating with local government officials, regulatory authorities and the local community could highlight the benefits of the project. If you need financial support, well thought out communications with potential investors could attract the funds you need.

Key aspects of getting the messaging right:

  • What issues are most important for your stakeholders?
  • What are some of the frequently asked questions your stakeholders have?
  • What does your audience need to understand?
  • What actions should the stakeholders take because of your message?

2. Know who you are talking to.
Your audience could include the local .community, funding sources, government agencies and regulatory agencies.
Your various stakeholders will have different priorities, attitudes and interests. A good strategy will make sure that your stakeholders receive information that is relevant to their needs and will help build a positive attitude towards your project.

3. Timing your messages
Once you know the message you are delivering and who you are talking to, you will need to establish a timeframe for delivering your information and messages. Knowing what information will be needed, and when, to help stakeholders understand your project is key to a well thought out communications plan.
You don’t need a complex system to do this – using a calendar will give everyone (internally) an understanding of what messages are being sent out and when. Including what information will be communicated weekly, monthly and quarterly. Being able to automate reporting and project updates is a bonus for projects that involve stakeholders who require regular updates on your project’s progress.

4. Delivering your message
Depending on your audience and your message there are several ways that you might choose to deliver your message.
Whether you are delivering project reports, addressing a meeting, setting up interviews with reporters and issuing press releases or monitoring social media, your communications should be informative and provide useful information of the potential impact of your project
Good communication with your stakeholders is crucial in establishing a dialogue with them. By developing a way to get feedback from your stakeholders, you can better gauge their attitudes and interests and tailor your future communications to address any concerns they may have.

5. Building lasting relationships
When you communicate with your stakeholders on a regular basis, you can help them get a real understanding of how your project benefits them and importantly build trust. This strategy enables you to develop a long-term relationship with them and makes it more likely they will continue to support your project through the implementation process.

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