Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so

Someone recently came for advice on how to design an effective communication plan to manage a new project. A good place to start is to draw up a stakeholder map. This is a map of people, groups and organisations who might be interested in your project. For instance, a list of stakeholders for a medium-sized charity might have politicians (local and national), journalists (local, regional and national), think tanks, local community groups, staff, volunteers, donors and funders.

A stakeholder map has an axis for interest  – the level of interest someone has in the project because it’ll either impact on them; and another for influence – the level of influence or power an individual has in shaping the project and it’s direction.

Someone’s position on the grid shows you the type of interaction and communication that would be helpful to success.

High Influence, High Interest: These are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. They are “key players”. Regular communications and face-to-face meetings are a must either 121 or as a group.

High Influence, Low Interest: Keep satisfied but not so much that they become bored with your message. You may need their help in the future.

Low Influence, High Interest: Collect feedback from this group to make sure that no new issues are coming up. Tailor your communications to their needs. They’re often essential to the detail and success of the plan. Often in-house.

Low Influence, Low Interest: People who simply need to be kept informed. Don’t bore them with excessive communication.

If you are interested in digging deeper on this subject then it’s worth having a look at:

Mindtools

Expertprogrammanagement

Stakeholdermap

Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. I’d love to hear if you found this of value. Please do leave a comment.

4 tips on how to make your press release statistics sing

Producing press releases is part of the public affairs professional’s job. Here’s four tips on how to make the stats in your press releases sing.

1. Paint a picture with your numbers and statistics. If those 7000 people were holding hands how far would that stretch? How many caravans would they fill?

2. Help people put the figure in some kind of perspective. So you’re spending that amount of money, but what’s so and so spending on what – compare and contrast.
3. Try human angles with a twist. You have a new CEO who’s done this, this and this and has a talent for . . . singing David Bowie . . .
4. Put your key statistics at the end of the press release in an easily accessible, readable form.
Please do share. I’d be glad to hear any of your ideas on this. Why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good. Always here if you need a bit of help on 07966 369579.

The modern slavery story: the spirit of brotherhood?

Photo by Bella Opacic

Photograph by Bella Opacic

Media stories – like Leighton Buzzard and “modern slavery”  – can sometimes throw up hidden, cruel facts about our society; and start people talking. Talk is good. It’s a start. Media stories can also throw up startling  statistics. Evidence is good.  Here’s two statistics that help build a case for a committed, co-ordinated multi-agency approach to stop modern slavery in the UK.

• 5,000 people are in some form of forced labour in the UK (guess-timate from Anti-Slavery International)

• 1,481 reports were received by the UK Human Trafficking Centre of suspected trafficking in the two years up to end of March 2011.

The statistics sit uncomfortably with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

If you want to know more about modern slavery, then this is a useful place to start: a Q and A by BBC Home Affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani.

Please do add a comment. I’d love to hear from you. What do you think?

Blog basics: how to write a blog

When you first start writing blogs it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to get yourself started.

Who’s your audience? Be as specific as possible. What issues have they got? How can you help them?

What are you going to put in the blog?

  • Tips around your business?
  • Answers to frequently asked questions?
  • A success story about someone you’ve helped?
  • Personal stories eg why you got interested in doing what you’re doing?
  • Lists: Do you have one you can share?

What tone are you going to use? A supportive, encouraging, friendly and open one tends to work best eg:

  •  invite feedback
  • promote a conversation/discussion
  • engage others in talking about your area of expertise
  • offer to answer their questions online
  • have a clear ask at the end for feedback and
  • canvass people’s opinion

It’s probably best to avoid shouting out your opinions, being closed so that people feel scared to share and being overly-controlling.

Why bother with blogs? They help people understand what you do; raise your expert status; add value to your brand (as they can be put on other social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter); and they heighten your online presence (search engines love blogs).

A big thank you to

for helping me understand what I’ve shared with you today.