In the 21st century, companies don’t really operate as a family, they operate as a corporation and often have external backers, sponsors, or other stakeholders. It is true that you cannot survive as a business in this day and age if you do all your work behind closed doors, dealing with only the people that you want to deal with and shutting out the rest of the world. On the other hand, when you talk about these investors, sponsors, and other stakeholders that aren’t really a part of your firm, but you are answerable to them because they put their money in your business to support it, you also talk about starting off on the right foot and developing a cordial relationship for years to come. And to do just that, you can’t just go ahead and impress these people with your wit and your charm, you need a strategy to follow and a plan to implement. So without beating around the bush, let’s talk about the different engagement strategies your company needs to get your point across the board and other external financers.
HOW is just as important as WHAT:
If you think all you need to know to effectively communicate with people is the actual knowhow about the topic, you couldn’t be further from the truth. You’d be surprised to know that WHAT you say wouldn’t be as effective if you choose a method of communication that isn’t suitable. For instance, if in your presentation you include a lot of technical terms and knowledge to convey your point, you might think that you’re onto something, but maybe there are two important people in the meeting who don’t understand that stuff. On the other hand, there may be people in the room that cannot go without it, and this creates a mini-fiasco for you. The ideal solution would be to take into account the understanding and capabilities of everyone you present to.
Know your audience:
It is actually true for all sorts of communication irrespective of the purpose and length, you need to know who you are talking to before you talk to them, but when it comes to business, it holds extra importance. The first step to formulating a successful engagement strategy for your company is to get to know the people who you are supposed to report to. Be it, investors, financiers, sponsors, honorary presidents, or even the governor of the state, whatever you have to communicate, begins with one simple question, “Who are you talking to?”.
A Two-way street:
A conversation means, two people, trying to get their message across and listening to each other. So when it comes to your company’s external communication, why should it be any different? When you are trying to convey your message across the board to your sponsors and other stakeholders, you cannot do that effectively if you do that without paying attention to what THEY have to say. Letting them have their say is an excellent strategy when gauging their thoughts and intentions because subconsciously people end up blurting out things that they don’t really want to reveal.
Get your head in the game:
Often, the main cause of a company’s failure is expecting too much. Same can be applied to an engagement strategy, i.e. be realistic about your goals and expectations regarding the meeting with your stakeholders, because setting high expectations that you wouldn’t be able to achieve possibly, can result in a letdown of a show.
Back your words with cold hard facts:
If you think you can charm your way into a stakeholder meeting with impress each and every one with what you say and how you say it, you are dead wrong. Of course, these traits do help, but at the end of the day, they wouldn’t mean much if you cannot back your words, your claims, and your promises with hard facts, figures, and actual action plans.