5 Strategies to Persuade On-the-fence Stakeholders

Project management consulting professionals are often called upon to help persuade stakeholders to give a project their support. Below are a few tips to bring these key people into your camp.

1 – Ask questions. Don’t rely on secondhand information or assumptions. Instead, contact each stakeholder (if possible), and let them tell you about their reservations directly. Once you have accurate and current information, you can begin to address the concerns that are preventing them from giving you their full support.

2 – Provide objective data. You need to be persuasive to win stakeholders over to your side, but don’t compromise your data to do so. Always show your stakeholders complete, current, and relevant information. Benchmarking data obtained from outside sources—often available through industry or regional organizations—can be a powerful tool to help demonstrate your project’s real-world potential. If you find that you can’t respond to stakeholder questions by defending the project on its merits, it’s time to reconsider whether it’s worth pursuing.

3 – Highlight tangible benefits. Show your undecided stakeholders all the positive impacts your project will bring. Benefits such as short- and long-term cost savings, reduced resource consumption, increased market share, and advantages over the competition are all important points to consider.

4 – Show how things will look if your project doesn’t go forward. What will be affected? The continuation of less-than-efficient processes, inability to maximize cost saving opportunities, loss of key customers or business partners, diminished market position, and hampering of growth plans should be among the issues you address.

5 – Make a deadline. Sometimes decisions are delayed simply because they can be. You don’t want to hurry a decision unnecessarily, but if the window for low material prices or contractor availability is a concern, let your stakeholders know the deadline up front.

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