Effective communications is critical to so many aspects of your organisation – conflict, collaboration, consensus… resistance to change, stakeholder engagement… the list goes on! As a facilitator, one of my key interests is enabling effective communications – giving people a simple yet effective mapping approach to support your initiatives.
In the modern connected age, we have more stakeholders than ever: the interested parties can include customers and also employee families as well as shareholders, regulators, etc. And let’s not forget that, with social media, almost everybody has an opinion! The complexity of the stakeholder map grows and this means that we need increasingly effective communications strategies.
Whilst we use a 14-point stakeholder mapper in Eskil, I tend to use a simplified version as a standard in many of my facilitated workshops. To fully explore mapping your stakeholders, you may want to set aside a full day whereas the simplified model can be covered off in 1-2 hours.
If it is a unit within a broader workshop, it can be covered off in an hour but only introduces you to the concept rather than the drill-down.
So what can you expect in a facilitated stakeholder comms session?
Sales is a key part of my background and so have spent a lot of time in the area of stakeholder mapping, communications and engagement. When mapping your sales stakeholders (specifically for complex B2B sales), I map out:
- Communications style of the decision maker(s)
- Role of the decision maker(s) (economic, blocker / enabler, user community, guardian angel)
- Level of authority of the decision maker(s) regarding the sale opportunity
- Level of influence of the decision maker(s) in the organisation specific to the sale opportunity
- Level of sentiment of the decision maker(s) towards the sale opportunity (exploring the impact of the sale)
- The mindset of the decision maker(s) (growth, trouble, oblivious, no need for change)
- The intrinsic (internal) motivator of the decision maker(s)
In my experience, sales is caused by and causes change – and change calls for sales skills. So it is no surprise that the model above is pretty much identical when mapping the communications of your bosses, your peers, your subordinates, your external partners (including suppliers)…
Building your effective communications
I say this all the time in workshops: “you will not know the answer to each of the points mentioned until you sit down and have a tea / coffee with the people involved. Without chatting these points through, you are guessing – and guessing is not good enough!
My consistent recommendation to building an understanding of your stakeholders is simple: “go for a coffee and have a chat”.
There’s no more science in the early days than this.
When it comes to any kind of change in the organisation (strategy, technology, policy, etc.) then you need to communicate. The culture of your organisation is informed by how we speak and engage with each other – listen to the soundwaves fizzing around – are you a collegiate, open, honest and supportive entity? Do you transmit messages without considering how they will be received? Do you have a plan of action to build stronger internal & external relationships?
Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events: