Project Stakeholders – How to Influence Them

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
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.

Techniques to Persuade and Influence Management

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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Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on