Stakeholder management

13 tips to improve stakeholder communication

Renee Jameson
Renee Jameson

4m read

As a founder or business leader, stakeholder engagement is one of the most important parts of your role. Communicating with internal and external partners, investors, clients, and customers ensure your stakeholders are kept informed and engaged in your business. Effective communication with stakeholders is crucial in any successful organisation, but it’s not always easy to achieve.

In a previous article, we explored the difference between stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management and how one isn’t effective without the other. Today, we’re offering tips on improving shareholder communication and stakeholder management so that you can attain the confidence and buy-in your business strives for.

Why is stakeholder communication important?

Stakeholder and shareholder communications are essential to the success of any company. They ensure that stakeholder engagement is maximised and that everyone involved has a complete understanding of the company’s mission, goals, objectives and details of how it’s all tracking.

Additionally, stakeholder communication management helps companies better understand those impacted by their work, how they will consume and make sense of the information provided and anticipate stakeholder reactions.

Learn more about the value of engaged stakeholders.

13 tips to improve stakeholder communication

Effective communication with stakeholders is crucial to the success of any business, but without a clear strategy, it can be an uphill battle. In 3 big mistakes companies make with share registers and stakeholder engagement, we discussed some key errors to avoid. Now, we’ll look at actionable tips specific to stakeholders and communication strategies.

1. Have early conversations

The goal of stakeholder communication is to ensure that all those affected by a company’s decisions are kept in the loop. This includes beginning conversations early and reaching out to stakeholders as soon as possible. Doing so builds trust and helps avoid many potential problems.

2. Set a schedule for communication

By setting a schedule for communicating with stakeholders and adhering to it, you can minimise stakeholder angst and ensure they are better prepared for the engagement process.

3. Be transparent and honest

To have positive relationships with stakeholders, be honest and transparent with them. Show them the latest plans and reports to keep them updated on what is happening. This will help to build trust between you and them.

4. Use your key messages consistently

When it comes to stakeholder engagement, effective communication is key. It is important to develop strong messaging early on and stick to it as consistently as possible. This will help ensure that stakeholders are informed of the goals and objectives of a project or initiative and that any changes in direction are clearly communicated.

5. Communicate regularly

Consistent communication should be established during the early stages of the company, but it should not stop there. Regular updates should be provided on progress, allowing stakeholders to feel their input has been taken into account and that their views are valued. Additionally, stakeholder feedback should be taken seriously, and promptly addressed. By communicating frequently, stakeholders will feel that the company is progressing well, and they’ll be more likely to provide continued support.

6. Allow stakeholders to share their input

Gaining input from your stakeholders is essential, and providing multiple methods for stakeholder input is often the most practical approach. Online engagement tools such as surveys can help increase accessibility, while in-person meetings offer a more personal connection (when appropriate).

7. Show you are listening

When engaging with stakeholders, one of the most important things you can do is make sure they feel like their thoughts, opinions, and ideas are being heard. Show that you're actively listening during stakeholder meetings and write down key points, then summarise them to stakeholders after the session. This allows stakeholders to provide clarification and ensures they feel their engagement is being taken seriously.

8. Collaborate and involve them in plans

One of the most effective ways to maximise stakeholder communication is to inform and involve stakeholders in decision-making. When stakeholders feel their input and opinions are valued, they’re more likely to have a full stake in the process.

9. Maintain historical stakeholder data

Organisations can improve stakeholder communication by keeping track of all interactions with stakeholders in a secure information management system. This allows for easy access to historical data, which can help build trust and prepare for future meetings.

10. Be succinct and precise in your communication

When it comes to stakeholder engagement, being succinct is a must. Stakeholders often come from a range of educational backgrounds and may have English as their second, third or even fourth language. Use short, clear sentences and simple words to ensure your message is easily understood and perceived as professional.

11. Illustrate where possible

When providing new information to stakeholders, you can maximise engagement by presenting a visual overview of the discussed solution. To ensure that the message is effectively communicated, it is important to keep the diagram on one page and present it after the speaker has finished speaking. Doing this will help further explain the message being delivered.

12. Use multiple channels (emails, virtual presentations, reports)

Emails represent one of the most common types of stakeholder communication, but they’re far from being the only avenue worth exploring. Group video calls and virtual presentations are gaining popularity, particularly for businesses dealing with geographically dispersed stakeholders. Experiment with new channels to engage your audience.

13. Have informal communication in your communication mix

Not all communications need to be formal and corporate. When confronted with a difficult problem or attempting to reach an agreement, humour can relieve tension, so don’t be afraid to use it (in moderation).

In summary

As a founder or business leader you have an important role in facilitating communication between stakeholders and your business. By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure your stakeholder communications are well considered, improving engagement and ensuring the success of your company.

Would you like to learn more effectively communicating with internal and external partners? View our shareholder investor report template to streamline how you manage your reporting process.

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