The Top Banana team and a number of events and communications professionals gathered round a table earlier this month to discuss the much talked about topic of engaging stakeholders. Hosted by Christina Choudhury, Director of Employee Communication at Barclaycard, the group discussed everything from getting teams working on the same page to engaging stakeholders during all key stages in an even delivery. There was plenty of top tips and best practice advice shared…so we thought we’d pass on a few of these golden nuggets of information with you.
1 Clarify roles and responsibilities
When different teams and individuals come together on a project they will always have different priorities and ideas of what they want to achieve from it. It’s really important to all get together and clarify roles and responsibilities from stage one of the project to align everyone’s focus.
2 Get people on the same page
Holding a discovery session at the start of a project will help the team understand why the event is happening and ensure it isn’t just an event for events sake. This is where the purpose of the event is agreed and to decide what you want the audience to go away and think and do differently.
3 Make it measurable
ROI or ROE is more important than ever so setting objectives is an essential. Make sure these objectives are linked to the ongoing business strategy and they can be measured…it’s always great to go back to the SLT and show objectives have been met.
4 Build a balanced agenda
When building an agenda for an event always refer back to the objectives…if the agenda item doesn’t achieve an objective then take it out! This will ensure the event delivers against the objectives and engages the audience with all the right messages.
5 Engage the events team
Contrary to popular belief events teams aren’t just logistics. Events teams have a wealth of experience in what works and what doesn’t in a live event environment…so get them involved from the beginning, not just to deliver the event.
6 Structure events in the right way
Whilst many events calendars are based around financial budget and the time of year…be careful not to fall into the trap of doing the same thing for the sake of it. Take a step back and think about the why…if there is nothing new to say, then don’t say it again.
7 Use your CEO in the right way
If your CEO isn’t comfortable in delivering messages on stage at a large conference don’t be afraid to mix it up. Choose a host that is able to drive the content and agenda and use smaller immersive sessions for your CEO to get key messages across to each and every employee.
8 Spot the difference
Each stakeholder tends to be very different and have different communication preferences, so it’s important to get to know them and learn how they like to work. Try and understand the language and passion of the stakeholder so you can connect with them on their level.
9 Make communication simple
When dealing with senior stakeholders be aware that they are busy people and don’t always have time to read long emails and respond quickly. Make communication as simple as possible by sending information in bullet points and making information accessible and easy to read.
10 Don’t become the middle man
It is important to keep the senior stakeholders informed…but don’t fall in to the trap of becoming the middle man and having to share messages between the project team and senior stakeholders. Try and get senior people to dial in to project calls so they hear first hand what is going on.