To inspire is to show — to demonstrate a better path through consistent action. To persuade is to tell — to explain a better path through convincing words. To trust is to believe — to demonstrate that stakeholder interests are our interests.

1. Leading by example in terms of role or what you do. Inspire confidence — about your subject and who you are talking with. If something is ambiguous or not getting the right response, then redirect it to asking the client a question to get everyone on the same page.

2. Map and understand who’s who. Reach out to others who know the company and the lay of land. Who are the people the stakeholder needs to escalate to. Understand the stakeholders authority within the company and their budget limits for projects.

3. Build trust then a personal relationship then business. What is their background, their understanding of their current role, what makes them good, what do they want for the company. They have emotional agendas, desires, and fears that can be acknowledged in the silences we leverage as much as the talking.

4. Lead them to the vision. Be clear on their goals. Contributing to the vision and identifying areas of improvement to support the vision. Is there a strategy on achieving this vision? What is the vision? How do we help to deliver the vision?

5. Don’t force an idea. You have to build it up and give insights that help to create ideas. If they push against certain insights, then make them think it was their idea. Stakeholders are more likely to approve something if they think they came up with it. You can often get major buy-in for very little effort just by removing yourself and your ego from a conversation and working with the other person.

6. People do business with people. Have the difficult conversations. Do not be afraid to talk business. Prep the stakeholder for the business talk by framing the conversation — set their expectation with calling ahead and say what you want to go over with them. Asking the tough questions so stakeholders feel that we have their best interests at heart.

7. Make it easy. Present them with not just the problem or issue but also the resolution options (with pros and cons) with one being our preferred recommendation. Face to face collaboration to work agile and insights. What can you do to make them look good? Use this to your advantage to build the long term relationship. They can bring you on long term ongoing work.

8. Persuasion is also about listening as much as telling (speaking). Making space for others to communicate and then listening effectively is huge. Inspire by showing others what the action of listening and including someone looks like. They walk away feeling heard and validated, and therefore more likely to compromise.

9. Stakeholders will have things that they like and don’t like; learn what these are to help guide you down the path when working in parallel.

10. Speak their language. Talking about decisions / rationale in terms of impact ‘budget’ ‘risk’ ‘timeline’ depending who the stakeholder is. etc. E.g User Research and HCD helps to provide evidence to help reduce risk and increase confidence in your product / project.

Transpire expertly manages relationships with stakeholders for the ultimate in project professionalism and success. Get in touch to find out more.