How to engage stakeholders with your project (Beyond the Power & Impact Grid).

It’s not hard to see how documents, stakeholder management processes and analysis can be a powerful tool for project communication.
However, you can’t change behaviour or create engagement by simply filling out a power and influence grid. To make people understand your mission, you need to do more than just stakeholder assessments.
You need to take action.
Make a good story
First, tell a compelling story. Consider why you are doing this project and how it will meet the business’s needs. How will it change their lives? This is probably something you’ve heard before, but it’s the answer for the question: What’s in the deal for me?
You can better target your communications and talk about the benefits of the project if you can figure out what’s in the for me for each stakeholder group.
You don’t need to be involved in many projects before you encounter resistance to change. People don’t like change. A good story can help you remove roadblocks or minimize their impact.
Your vision for your project is the first step in creating the story.
Create a vision
Your vision for your project should be clear and simple. It is the direction you are heading and the road you are on.
It should be aligned with the business goals, departmental and corporate goals (or all three). You should also be able to explain how this will happen. This is a sign that the organisation is delivering value that helps it move forward. Alignment puts your project in context and makes sure it is relevant to the work and experiences that your stakeholders have.
Your vision must be achievable. Your vision should be achievable and people should believe you will deliver it. It must be realistic, as no one will support a plan they don’t believe can achieve the desired outcomes. They won’t want their association with something they don’t believe in or that they consider a failure.
Your project’s story should allow people to clearly see the benefits for them and the wider business. It’s promotional. Let’s pretend that the situation is simple. It is not always true.
Begin with the team
We tend to think of project marketing and communications as something we do to others outside the team. Your team must be on your side. Your team is your ambassadors and they must be able to tell the story of your project with everyone they meet.
They will keep you informed about your regular communications, but they must also support you in any marketing efforts. They must be able to support the project and believe in the vision. They shouldn’t be a hindrance to your efforts. It’s quite easy to do this with a few casual remarks.
It is everyone’s responsibility
Project communications should be everyone’s responsibility. This is more than just delegating the work.
Your stakeholders will hear your messages more strongly if they hear them from their peers than from you. Because it’s your job, you are expected to be positive about the project. Your message will have a greater impact if it is heard from others. Ask your team to discuss the project informally after you have reached key milestones or delivered something.
People follow the example of those in power so identify your stakeholders with that power. Also, remember that power comes from many sources so experts might be impressed by other experts, but not by hierarchy.
You can also create a network of supporters and draw on them for spreading the word. To find out who they might be, use your stakeholder analysis.
This is a practical problem. Everyone must understand that communication is not just the responsibility of the project manager. Tell them what you think

How to engage stakeholders with your project (Beyond the Power & Impact Grid).
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