What Is Stakeholder Communication? (Plus Strategies)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Stakeholder communication can assess goals, set better deadlines and improve any project's efficiency. Understanding how you can communicate with your company's stakeholders can help your project's progress proceed as smoothly as possible. In this article, we review what stakeholder communication is and provide tips you can use to make your time with your stakeholder as productive as possible.

What is stakeholder communication?

Stakeholder communication is the correspondence among all of the people invested in a project or business. Stakeholders include project managers, team members, clients, department heads and company executives. Some common stakeholder communication mediums include:

  • Regular meetings via video or in person

  • Emails

  • Phone calls

  • Presentations

  • Newsletters

  • Notice boards

  • Annual or monthly progress reports

  • Press releases

  • Website portals

  • Informal meetings, such as dinners

  • Focus groups

  • Social media

Communication helps everyone understand the motives, goals and plans for a project. There are many factors that can influence stakeholder communication, such as:

  • Project importance: More important projects might require regular communication to ensure it stays on track. Factors like budget, timeline and the client could affect the importance and communication needs.

  • Communication medium: Some stakeholders might prefer or respond more regularly to a specific communication type, such as emails or phone calls. Choosing the best medium for all stakeholders can make it easier for everyone to communicate.

  • Communication frequency: It's important to determine how often you want to communicate with each stakeholder. Employees could communicate regularly every day, while client stakeholders may prefer to communicate once a week during meetings.

  • Communication time: Consider your stakeholders' locations when you choose what time to communicate with them. Larger national or international projects may require more communication scheduling to ensure all stakeholders are available when needed.

  • Content: The content you include in your communication can also depend on your stakeholders. For example, clients may be more interested in the content in press releases, while notice boards are ideal for employees.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Stakeholders in the Workplace

Stakeholder communication benefits

There are many benefits to communicating effectively with your stakeholders, including:

Trust building

Reaching out to your stakeholders lets them know you care about their perspectives, which can help built trust. Communication may increase when all stakeholders trust each other, making the workflow smoother. It's helpful to communicate with stakeholders early and often to quickly establish and maintain trusting relationships.

Decision-making

By communicating with your stakeholders, you expose yourself to different perspectives that you may not have thought about before. Your stakeholders likely have different backgrounds and qualifications that they can use to offer insightful input. You can use this input to make more informed and universally beneficial decisions for a project or the business overall.

Related: How To Engage Project Stakeholders

Cost efficiency

Regular communication among stakeholders can help keep projects within their deadlines and under budget. Stakeholders who feel comfortable communicating their needs and requests can receive assistance quickly, which helps projects continually progress. Clear communication is also key for understanding the project requirements, improving accuracy and reducing the potential for errors.

Risk minimization

Stakeholders may be able to identify risks and suggest changes to help prevent or overcome project obstacles. By inviting all stakeholders to communicate, you may be more aware of potential setbacks at all project stages. Asking for input during the planning stages can be especially beneficial to help create an accurate timeline and account for all possible risks.

Accountability

Accountability can increase when stakeholders communicate regularly, which can help keep projects on track. By holding regular meetings, such as short daily team meetings and weekly client meetings, stakeholders can hold each other accountable for their work. Establishing the best way to communicate with stakeholders, such as via email or by phone, can make accountability easier.

Stakeholder communication strategies

When communicating with your stakeholders, consider some of the following strategies:

Remain transparent

If you want your stakeholders to contribute as much as possible, try to be transparent about all project aspects. The more you honestly share with team members and clients, the more information they have to complete their parts of the project. Additionally, transparency between you and your stakeholder builds valuable trust.

Related: How Do I Manage Stakeholders?

Allow them to set meeting dates and mediums

If possible, try to let stakeholders schedule meeting times and types that work best for them. Many clients especially appreciate the ability to control meeting times and mediums. For example, a client may want to hold weekly meetings via video conferencing and ask for important updates or changes via phone calls.

You can also let teams establish their own communication methods as long as they continue to meet deadlines and work efficiently. Having some flexibility in communication can help build stronger relationships among teams.

Keep stakeholders updated

Providing regular updates to all stakeholders ensures everyone is aware of the project's process and any important changes. You can typically provide expected updates during normal communication, such as weekly or daily meetings, while urgent updates might require you to email or call stakeholders. When providing updates, try to only notify affected stakeholders to keep communication clear.

Related: How To Perform a Stakeholder Analysis (With Examples)

Document your communication

It's helpful to have a log of all communication between different stakeholders, which allows you to find and refer to various decisions and updates. Try to keep all email chains from stakeholders so you can read previous messages for important details. For meetings and phone calls, take notes and keep them in a log that's accessible to stakeholders who may need the information.

Establish communication methods

Try to make a communication chart to show when to meet with certain stakeholders, their preferred method of communication and their contact information. Creating a communication hierarchy can also streamline communication among stakeholders, making it easier for team members and clients to reach the person they need. Post your communication methods in a visible space so stakeholders can refer to it whenever they need.

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