How to create positive interactions with stakeholders

Push communication

Sender pushes out information to receiver (one direction). Used to communicate expected, non-urgent information.

Examples

  • You do all the talking or sharing in the meeting
  • You send regular reports or updates to project team and stakeholders
  • Formats:
    • Lectures
    • Memos
    • Email updates
    • Voicemails
    • Reports
    • Contracts
    • Documents

Advantages

  • Great for quick, regular communication
  • Can be automated (e.g. weekly check-ins or updates)
  • Can send to a wide audience and control stakeholder interactions

Disadvantages

  • Can’t tell if receiver understands meaning
  • Doesn’t promote empathy and critical thinking, mutual understanding
  • Not good for communicating urgent or upsetting information or major changes
  • Can mean delayed communication
  • Folks might misinterpret message or folks might not read or consume it at all

Pull communication

Sender creates content that receivers can passively access at any time, rather than sender directly channeling it to receivers.

Note: project management applications that send notifications are technically push communication.

Examples

  • Websites
  • Wikis
  • Google docs
  • Bulletins
  • Dashboards
  • Webinars
  • Social media

Advantages

  • Great for continuous communication and updates
  • Quick to create and automate
  • Creates transparency and alignment (all parties can see what’s said/created)
  • Can be shared with a large audience simultaneously

Disadvantages

  • Can’t tell if receiver understands meaning
  • Doesn’t promote empathy and critical thinking, mutual understanding
  • Not good for communicating urgent or upsetting information
  • Folks might misinterpret message or folks might not read or consume it at all
  • Can limit discussion and interaction

Interactive communication

Communicating back and forth between sender and receiver in real-time.

Examples

  • Slack or instant messaging
  • Meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Video or audio calls

Advantages

  • Great for continuous communication and updates
  • Creates transparency and alignment (all parties can see what’s said/created)
  • Parties can check that recipients understand messages
  • Can be shared with a large audience simultaneously
  • Good for sensitive, serious, or urgent information

Disadvantages

  • Can set an expectation for instant replies or answers
  • Takes time and can be distracting
  • Smaller (more effective) groups leave out important stakeholders
  • Can lead to scope creep (slippage in language that sets a new outcome/request)

Ace interactive communication

Here’s how to gather important information from your teams and create safety during collaborative interactions.

Sharing new information

  1. The sender summarizes the high level information in under a minute (highlighting the who/what/where/when/why/how) and then turns it over to your captive audience.
  2. The sender gives attendees time to write down questions—time to think about what’s important to them within their own experience and context. It helps uncover questions that they’d miss if others did all the talking.
  3. Each person asks a question as the speaker alternates around the table and sender answers each question. The meeting is done when there are no more questions.
  4. One person documents all answers (question askers should take useful notes for themselves). Notes can also be shared in real time.

Communicating ongoing information

  1. Decide how frequently to share this information.
  2. Choose the format for sharing communication, and determine who needs to get it; short and simple is best.
  3. Make pathways and spaces for regular feedback (e.g a regular check-in meeting to discuss reports).
  4. Refine the format and approach if it’s not working—different stakeholder need different communication.

Reviewing past information

  1. Determine how to gather up the information you’ll review: is it accurate? How do you know?
  2. Predetermine who needs be involved and when.
  3. Record the session so you can have a good convo and still get the notes transcribed.
  4. Revisit the outcomes you want to improve or change and apply a clear timeline and priority.

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