Maximizing Audience Involvement in Your Project
The project you’re managing will benefit if you keep the audience (whether they’re groups or individuals) involved through meetings and written communication. To maximize your audiences’ involvement and contributions, consider the following guidelines throughout your project:
Involve audiences early in the project planning if they have a role later on. Give your audiences the option to participate in planning even if they don’t perform until later in the project. Sometimes they can share information that’ll make their tasks easier. At the least, they can reserve time to provide their services when you need them.
If you’re concerned with the legality of involving a specific audience, check with your legal department or contracts office. Suppose you’re planning to award a competitive contract to buy certain equipment. You want to know whether prospective bidders typically have this equipment on hand and how long it’ll take to receive it after you award the contract. However, you’re concerned that speaking to potential contractors in the planning stage may tip them off about the procurement and lead to charges of favoritism by unsuccessful bidders who didn’t know about the procurement in advance.
Instead of ignoring this important audience, check with your contracts office or legal department to determine how you can get the information you want and still maintain the integrity of the bidding process.
Develop a plan with all key audiences to meet their information needs and interests as well as yours. Determine the information they want and the information you believe they need. Also decide when to provide that information and in what format. Finally, clarify what you want from them and how and when they can provide it.
Always be sure you understand each audience’s What’s In It For Me (WIIFM). Clarify why it’s in each audience’s interest to see your project succeed. Throughout your project, keep reminding your audiences of the benefits they’ll realize when your project’s complete and the progress your project has made toward achieving those benefits.