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Three Paths to Approaching Stakeholders

The Three Ways To Interact With Stakeholders

Kenneth Darter believes there are multiple ways to approach a stakeholder when it comes to discussing the project. In his mind, the way you approach the stakeholder can be just as important (if not more so) than the message itself. To that end, Darter shares three paths for approaching stakeholders, but with this caveat: these three are not meant to be the only three in the world of stakeholder management. Rather, they are meant to get you thinking about how to approach your own stakeholders.

Easiest, But With Least Benefit

The first path is that of least resistance. This means having a simple plan (consistent reporting to the closest stakeholder). While this path is easy to accomplish, it doesn’t help build a relationship nor does it allow for in-depth understanding of what your stakeholder might want.

The next path is called “the shotgun approach”:

Another path to stakeholders is to take the shotgun approach. Instead of delivering a message to one person or a small group of stakeholders, you deliver the message to anyone who is listening and sometimes, to people who are not listening very well. The shotgun approach gets your message to the stakeholders in any way that works; this might mean elevator or hallway conversations, regular emails, and even presenting at different meetings. The shotgun approach is to broadcast the message as loudly as possible and hit as many targets as possible. While it may be a good way to make sure everyone knows what is going on, the message will not be contained or controlled for very long.

Best of Both Worlds

The final path and presumably the most desired path is the “high road.” This means informing stakeholders in formal project meetings and making sure they are invested in the outcome of the project. It requires proactive stakeholders and proactive interaction with them.

Read the full blog post here:

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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