Nobody works in a vacuum, which means you’re collaborating and communicating with a lot of different people on a daily basis. There are your direct team members, your executive or leadership team, your board of directors, external vendors or contractors, other departments you’re partnering with, your clients or customers… and the list just keeps going. Keeping all of those different people informed takes up a good chunk of your work hours. Fortunately, this stakeholder communications template will help you refine a strategy for updating everyone about your project progress or operations.
How to use the stakeholder communications template
Step 1. Identify your stakeholders
Before you jump into the template, give all your key people some homework. Ask them to take some time alone to brainstorm who your audiences are. From downstream teams to your executive sponsor, who are you communicating with on a regular basis? Give everybody a few days to generate their own list. Then pull the team together to hash out the plan.
Step 2. Set your goals
Using the Goals section of the template, give everybody some context and clarity by outlining your objectives for your stakeholder communications plan. This should go beyond a surface-level goal like “communicate better” (duh, right?), and dig into the real achievements you’re seeking. Do you want to build greater trust with your stakeholders? Reduce the bottlenecks you’re experiencing? Decrease errors? Jot those objectives down before moving onto the rest of the template.
Step 3. Refine your audience and communication methods
Have an open discussion about the audiences you each identified and create a master list. Jot them down in the left column of the Stakeholders table.
In the right column, list the communication methods you’re currently using with each stakeholder. Do you primarily use email to communicate with your board of directors and instant messages to communicate with partner teams? Note those specifics here.
Step 4. Plot your communications cadence
Now choose one of your stakeholders and then start with this simple question: how often should you be communicating with this audience?
For example, if your board of directors only needs a monthly update, plot them in the Audience column next to the row labeled “monthly.” Move through the other columns of the table to map out the details for your board. What methods will you use? What should you share with them? Add in any handy links that you may want to refer back to or share with your audience in the template so that everything is in one place. Rinse and repeat for all of your stakeholders.
Step 5. List your open actions
You might not get your entire stakeholder communications plan ironed out in one meeting – and that’s okay. The Open actions section of the template has space for you to list anything that still needs to be done.
For example, maybe you’re going to look into a designated platform that makes it easier to streamline communication with external vendors. List that in this section as an open action item, so that you actually remember to do it.
Want an even deeper dive into how to use this stakeholder communications plan? Check out this play.
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