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Four Reasons Why You Struggle to Engage Stakeholders

A project is nothing without stakeholders supporting it, so engaging stakeholders from the beginning is of the utmost importance. But when they seem uninterested in the ideas that excite you so, how can you make them see the wonder and potential? In a guest post for the Project Risk Coach, Colin Gautrey shares some reasons why you may be having difficulties engaging stakeholders.

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When the emails go unanswered and you seem to be in a one-sided game of phone tag, it can be easy to feel like all hope is lost in engaging stakeholders. You do not want to go over-the-top because that is not true influence, so what should you do? Initially you need to take a step back and think about the situation more deeply. Next, you need to ensure that your attitude stays in check. Oftentimes, when communications fail you get a negative attitude, which can cause irreparable damage to the stakeholder relationship. After that, try to understand the stakeholders’ side, and why they are hesitant. Finally, you take all of this new information and formulate it into a new approach to better excite the stakeholder. There are four elements for you to consider that may help you better understand the stakeholder’s hesitation:

  1. Time
  2. Interest
  3. History
  4. Trust

People are busy creatures, with tasks and responsibilities outside of your interactions. Sometimes, the stakeholder merely does not have the time to address your request to the best of their ability. Interest meanwhile can often be the make-it or break-it factor in motivation. If a stakeholder is truly interested in the project, it is far easier to sell them on investment.

History can be a major roadblock in human relationships. Was there something negative that has happened in the past that may deter this stakeholder from even wanting to help you? Maybe they did something they are embarrassed about. Try to remedy the relationship, and always be careful of the bridges you burn. If the stakeholder does not trust you or your motives, they will not want to work with you. Communication and transparency can often help in building trust and keeping it alive.

You can read the original post here: http://projectriskcoach.com/2016/07/12/four-reasons-why-you-struggle-to-engage-stakeholders/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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