Stakeholder Communications Plan for Buy-in and Support

  • Updated


The overall objective of a Stakeholder Communications Plan is to promote a program’s success by engaging stakeholders, partners and end users in the support and execution of the program. An effective communications plan will identify all possible stakeholders, both internal (have a role in program execution) and external (need knowledge to proactively support program goals) and provide the communication structure and methods for information distribution and collection. 

Why it matters: Stakeholder buy-in and support is crucial to your program's success. When users are supported and encouraged to participate by stakeholders who have influence on the user and understand the value of the program, engagement and success rates can dramatically increase.

Step 1: Stakeholder Identification & Key Message Analysis

Take into account the situational and stakeholder analysis of your audience to determine the necessary key message(s) for that audience. See sample chart below:

Stakeholders & Key Messages
Key Messages Executives Leadership Program Owners Core Teams End Users Technical Support

Step 2: Communications Plan

The plan should define objectives, audiences, and the necessary detail needed to execute a plan that promotes stakeholder understanding and buy-in necessary for a successful program launch and life.
Communication Type Objective Frequency Audience Owner Phase Channel

Step 3: Communication Summary

Track and report on your communications to ensure the plan detail is adhered to and successful.
Audience Kick-Off Communications Daily/Weekly Status Monthly Report Executive Report
Program Owners        
Core Teams        
End Users        
Technical Support Team        

Guidelines and Best Practices

Genuine management commitment is essential. If management support is not fully committed and demonstrative to the proposed program, it is unlikely that their staff will support the program as well. Management commitment is needed throughout the program. To execute an effective communications plan, consider the following:

  • Stakeholder Analysis: Identify allies and detractors: Who is backing the program success and who is not - and find out their success criteria.
  • Different stakeholders place emphasis on different things, so find out their preferences, their "hard criteria".
  • Identify the soft criteria of your stakeholders - which are based on people’s values such as timeliness, attention to detail, honesty.
  • Are there key windows of opportunity with your various stakeholders?
  • Are there dates by which a communication should happen to be most effective?
  • Recognize the limitations of various communication channels.
  • Multiple channels may be necessary depending on situational analysis and identified audience.  Be sure and leverage all the appropriate communication channels available in your organization to optimize success e.g., intranet, push communications from your communications staff, organization portals, etc.
  • Match the channel to the desired level of interaction & feedback needs.
  • Determine how you will know if the communication is achieving what you hoped for.
  • How will you obtain feedback and/or improve the quality of feedback to ensure communication is working?

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