The ultimate goal of much stakeholder engagement work is influence, and some may aspire to be a ‘trusted’ advisor and thought leader. Our research suggests that first, you must earn the right to influence through having all the pieces in place. To truly influence, you must be willing to be influenced with most stakeholder relationships, influence is a two-way goal.
It all starts with listening skills….
The steps to willing influence
In researching stakeholder reputation, stakeholder relations, and its drivers for over 20 years across a wide range of sectors, Inside Story has observed a common dilemma. Talking skills are the most effective skills practiced by organisations trying to engage stakeholders. However, each party in the relationship’s primary aim is to get their message across and hence lay the ground as they see it for influence. You want to influence your stakeholders, and your stakeholders want to influence you.
In our research one of the biggest barriers to effective stakeholder engagement is the impression amongst stakeholders that ‘they don’t take our opinions into account’.
Perceptions of listening skills are a major source of dissatisfaction with many relationships in our experience.
This leaves precious relationships vulnerable. Relationships might be rated good, but really they are good (only) and not very good or great.