Wednesday, February 8, 2012

6 Tips to Persuade Stakeholders to Say "Yes" to Your Project

Sourcing project acceptance and buy-in from stakeholders is a challenge. The article below by Jorge Valdes Gaciatorres hightlights useful hints to employ. I would add awareness of all the cultural elements when selling a project to stakeholders, is imperative. Getting to know the prospective stakeholders is very important. It will help to stay away from embarrassing comments that may fuel discomfort amongst stakeholders. On the other hand, it may yield immense goodwill from members that lacked certainty to become involved in your project.

Jorge Valdes Gaciatorres writes in Voices on Project Management:

Starting a project is not always easy. It requires resources and changes the status quo, so there can be a lot of obstacles until you hear "yes" to a project.

That's why you need to know how to effectively persuade your stakeholders to get on board with your project.

Dr. Alan H. Monroe's motivated sequence pattern, created in the 1930s, is useful for doing so:

1. Attention: Capture your stakeholders' attention with an interesting opening statement, or share a statistic related to your project.

2. Need: Identify the need that your project will address and share it with your stakeholders. The more information you have about the business needs, the better the chance your project is approved.

3. Satisfaction: Let stakeholders know how your project will satisfy the identified business needs. In detail, describe the approach you'll use in your project to address the needs.

4. Visualize: Explain the 'perfect world' that will exist after the project has finished. Make it as vivid as possible -- explain how it looks, sounds and smells. Be very energetic and enthusiastic when you explain.

5. Action: Tell them what you need them to do. Let them know specifically what steps you are taking to achieve the vision you've just shared.

The sixth element I would add is to tell a story to help you make your point. It could be real or it could be fictional, but remember that people are more likely persuaded when they hear or read a story that transports them. If a story is told well, we get swept up and are less likely to notice things that don't match up with our everyday experiences.

Use your creativity -- find your own way to mix all of these elements and you can build a powerful tool to persuade even the most demanding stakeholder.

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