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Project Stakeholders – How to Influence Them

Dick Billows, PMP

Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Project Stakeholders are anyone who is impacted by the project. That includes managers and executives, users, contractors, vendors and team members. Watch this “project manager in action” video about influencing project stakeholders. It’s followed by a discussion of the best techniques for influencing the stakeholders and gaining their support for your project. Project Stakeholders Main Page

Too many project managers think they don’t have to be persuasive. They think all they have to do is talk about the technical details and impress people with their knowledge. Unfortunately that never works. Those project managers are forced to manage projects without active support from the management or executive ranks.

Influencing Project Stakeholders: Active Listening

What good project managers do is actively listen to the managers and executives who are stakeholders in their project. Executives like to talk and successful project managers encourage them to do so. You need to pay close attention to what the executives are saying and ask questions. In these conversations you hear about the performance pressures the executives face. Once you find out about those pressures, you can try to address them in the project and you’ll gain an active supporter.

Project managers who have trouble listening must learn to keep their mouth shut as the executives describe what they want. That’s far more effective than discussing technology details which the executives don’t understand and have no interest in learning.  Use the techniques discussed in the video and document them in your stakeholder register so you can easily recall each executive’s issues.  Then you’ll know what to talk about the next time you’re in a meeting with them.

Influencing Project Stakeholders: Why You Need Them

You need the stakeholders’ participation to define the project’s requirements and deliverables. From the very first project stages, you need to gain the support of the managers who will lend people from their departments as project team members. They will not commit their resources to a project if they don’t think it will benefit their department.  You’ll also need to influence project stakeholders when you need them to approve your plans for managing the project’s risks and change requests.

You can learn proven techniques for managing and influencing project stakeholders in our online project management courses. You’ll work privately and individually with a expert project manager. You control the schedule and pace and have as many phone calls and live video conferences as you wish. Take a look at the course in your specialty.

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