Welcome to First Thursday! On the first Thursday of every month, Corporate Speech Solutions features an expert that has a skill or expertise that will enhance your professional skill set. Today, we’re joined by Cathy DolanSchweitzer, President and Founder of Health Well Done, with a blog on how you can use communication to help you connect with your stakeholders and take your business to the next level.
Connect with Your Stakeholders: They Hold the Keys to the Kingdom
by Cathy Dolan-Schweitzer
What exactly are stakeholders and what do they mean for your business? “Stakeholders” can include anyone with a direct interest in your business, including stockholders, customers, and employees. However, the importance of the term isn’t in who your stakeholders are, but what they mean to your company. The term “stakeholders” was first used in an internal memorandum at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963 and was defined as “those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist.” That might sound like pretty strong language, but the fact remains to this day: not only do stakeholders have a vested interest in your success—your success is also dependent on them!
Since stakeholders can have a significant impact on your professional success, it’s important to develop a positive, mutually beneficial relationship. As with most aspects of professional life, strong communication is key to maintaining a positive relationship with your stakeholders. Although clear, direct communication is essential, sometimes more creative communication outlets can take your connection and engagement to the next level. Here are three techniques that I have found help improve communication and build lasting connections with the stakeholders in your business:
- Storytelling: Embedding your message in a story is a great way to deliver relevant content while engaging your listener. Stories bring out emotions and help to foster a genuine connection between speaker and audience. Find a story which encompasses the key points of your message, and weave it into your communication or marketing.
- Role Playing: Strong, effective communication involves developing a deeper understanding of your listener. Role playing allows you to walk in someone else’s shoes to gain a clearer picture of their needs, their priorities, and how they see the world.
- Use Visuals to Maximize Comprehension: With the breakneck pace of today’s world, distraction has become an epidemic. Fortunately, visuals are a great tool for combating distraction and helping your listener focus on your message. Whether projected as slides, drawn on whiteboards, or shared on smart devices, a visual aid can go a long way towards driving home your key points and connecting with your audience.
Remember: your stakeholders hold the key to the kingdom! Without their support, your business would not exist. By combining clear, confident communication with creative techniques like those above, you can create a stronger, more effective connection with your stakeholders, and increase the success and stability of your business.
Cathy DolanSchweitzer is President of Health Well Done, a project management veteran, and a teacher at heart. After 14+ years in her role as a healthcare Senior Project Manager, she fused her professional experience with her transformative ordeal as a cancer patient to develop the proven patientcentered Health Well Done methodology. Cathy holds a MA in Integrated Medicine, is a graduate of NSANYC Speaker Academy and holds certificate from NYU in Project Management.