Next slide please....
I’ve been reflecting over the last couple of weeks about stakeholder engagement and communication, prompted by recent events which I’m sure many of you are very familiar with.
I'll start with the fencing erected a couple of weeks ago at the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield residences, which coincided with us entering our second period of national restrictions. Putting up the fencing was probably a quick decision made by someone thinking they had identified a solution to an urgent problem. They were doing what they thought was the right thing at the right time. By not identifying who their stakeholders were and then which ones were affected, not considering the impact on them, and not taking the time to communicate and engage with them resulted in widespread negative feedback and protests amongst the students. Feedback from the affected students was the protest wasn’t just about the fence, the fence was the final straw; it was about ongoing inadequate communication about many aspects of their university experience which has resulted in frustration and feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
At the moment with the majority of our communication being virtual, the opportunity for face to face interaction and actual check-ins with those outside our household and support bubbles are limited. This is affecting us all but is particularly tough for students, as when you throw into the mix being away from home for the first time, new living and learning experiences and the need to establish new friendship and support groups, feelings of loneliness are being exaggerated. This makes it so important that communication is tailored to stakeholder needs.
“Next slide please” has become a well-used phrase recently, particularly at the Downing Street Coronavirus briefings. Slide clickers must be in short supply in these “unprecedented times”. On a more serious note, for these slides to be effective as a communication tool, they need to communicate the messages clearly. They must be simple, with limited text, have high quality graphics and readable charts. If not, stakeholders are left confused.
Stakeholder communication is important within any organisation, and in my experience more critical during times of crisis. If effective, it will ensure stakeholders receive the information that is relevant to their needs and build positive attitudes to your company. I have seen time and time again it leading to the fostering of a culture of mutual trust, stronger partnerships and relationships and thus the opportunity to engage and influence.
YabbleHub can support you in this area, so do reach out to us. We’ll commit to listening to you, engaging with you and working together to develop and deliver an effective external and internal stakeholder engagement and communication strategy, which will enhance your stakeholder relationships.