Association for Project Management
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Stakeholder engagement in the hybrid world – SWWE Virtual Meet Up

We had 12 people dial in from the southwest region and one person in Pakistan on 29 September 2022. The event went very well.

The group discussed the various aspects of stakeholder engagement and how our approach to engaging with others has changed following the pandemic.

There was general agreement that the underlying principles of considering the requirements of the stakeholder and selecting the most appropriate method of communication has not changed but our options for these are more varied.

When building a new relationship with a stakeholder it is important to establish a shared understanding. The group discussed the wide range of apps and software that they use for meetings, sharing information and collaborating. Each had benefits for different situations, but we concluded that selecting a tool that everyone understands how to use will ensure meetings and discussions are engaging and result in the required quality of output.

We then discussed the merits of virtual meetings against face-to-face. This identified that to achieve good quality stakeholder engagement it is important to consider the type and level of information each stakeholder will need, accessibility requirements and limitations (for example, when first meeting someone remotely, having cameras on is useful to build trust, while if people are off camera in meetings, they may not effectively engage in the discussion resulting in missed messages or misunderstandings).

A large part of relationship building is being able to read body language which can be missed in virtual situations so the use of emojis in typed conversations can help.

Having increased access to instant communications online can be useful when resolving issues and bouncing ideas around, however it can also impact people’s wellbeing. We therefore need to tailor the volume of meetings, their location (virtual and physical), the timing and content presented against the desired level of stakeholder engagement to be achieved. This will ensure each engagement has a purpose and achieves its aims without overwhelming or disengaging the stakeholder -whether they are a customer, client, team member, decision-maker or any other interested party.

Nina Hartley
SWWE Branch committee member


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