3 Steps To Winning Over Your Most Difficult Stakeholder.

An important part of a good Business Analyst's tool-set is the ability to engage and influence key stakeholders.

Here's a simple model I use to develop meaningful and lasting professional relationships with my stakeholders be they managers, project people or juniors:

Over a period of time (i.e. one or more meetings or interactions) make sure you move through the following phases:

Step 1: MATCH

  • The main goal for this phase is to empathise as much as you can. In other words walk a mile in thier shoes.

  • Actively demonstrate that you are working to understand their view of the world. Take opportunities to stop the conversation and "play back" what you've heard.

  • Listen out for opportunities to add value in small ways. (e.g. mention an online resource that may be helpful for them)

  • Whenever you interact be sure to mirror body language, tone of voice, language. Sounds cheesy but it works!
Step 2: PACE

  • After you've practiced matching for a while you should be more 'in tune' with their way of thinking.

  • Conversations should flow quite easily and your stakeholder should be quite relaxed.

  • You should also have a good understanding of what they want or what thier concerns are.

  • In this phase you focus on keeping the momentum going. Feedback things that you know they would be interested in.

  • Make sure you keep any promises made in conversation even if it may seem trivial. (This is crucial for building credibility!!)

  • You know you're getting this part right if you can finish their sentences!
Step 3: LEAD

  • Be outcome oriented. Stay wedded to the outcome and not the method of getting thier!!!

  • This is when you start bringing in your agenda in a very respectful way.
  • Start by telling the reason for talking to them. Ask them for some time to explain your point of view.

  • Be open to comments and treat questions or concerns with respect.

  • Respond to comments as if you were looking at your message alongside your stakeholder.

  • Ask them what they think the best way is to proceed.

  • Respond to thier advice. Show that you are able to be influenced.
This model has served me well over the years and really helps remind me to listen before presenting.

If you're interested in where this model came from have a look at the NLP wiki.


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