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Key Principles in Preparing for Effective Stakeholder Engagement

In today’s society of information overload and social media wildfires, those tasked with communicating about environmental issues may be tempted to take a back seat or shell out big bucks for the latest in public relations wizardry. Both approaches could prove costly and damaging in the long run.  The fact is, the makings for sound communication and stakeholder engagement lie within your organization. Regardless of the size of a company or its budget, every organization can strengthen its communication foundation in three key ways:

Invest in understanding—Despite decades of communication research proving otherwise, we still engage in discussions as if our audience shares our same knowledge and perspective. Even the smallest investment in understanding stakeholders’ perspectives pays big dividends in the effectiveness of dialogue.

Prepare tangible plans—Without mandates and compliance deadlines, communication efforts can suffer from back-burner syndrome.  Tangible plans with feedback loops protect communication investments and ensure an organization stays positioned for success.

Commit to principled engagement—Efforts seen as mere reputation polishing can set an organization back further than where it started with its stakeholders. When engaged through an earnest and transparent process, stakeholders are more receptive to effective, two-way dialogue.