When you are growing your business, There will come a time when you have to start thinking on a grander scale, and this sense of thinking internationally will boost your brand’s perceptions and make you a far more profitable entity. The topic of stakeholder engagement is loosely defined as any individual who has an effect on your organization, and ensuring that you engage with these stakeholders is critical, especially those in another country. What does it take to have an effective working relationship with these stakeholders?
Understand Their Culture
It can be easy for us to stay in our own lane, and when we have to engage with stakeholders, we then try and turn on the charm, but we are building a relationship, and therefore, we’ve got to think about what it takes to build a real human relationship, as opposed to a working one. This is where understanding their culture’s traditions and, of course, having a smattering of the language can help to build those bridges far quicker. When it comes to learning another language like French, it may be a vast undertaking, but you can make things easier for yourself by understanding the foundations of good communication in that language. A French language fluency test is a simple thing but it will bypass a lot of the frustrations that come with learning a language, and the fact that showing willing is one of the best ways to slowly but surely build a relationship with someone else on a professional level.
Know Their Expectations
Having a sense of transparency is critical in every part of the organization, and when you are working with key stakeholders, you’ve got to remember the importance of getting everybody onto the same page. When you’re working with a number of different stakeholders in different countries, you’ve got to prioritize the expectations of the most important ones when you are aligning your management and engagement strategies. This will help you not just work more efficiently for your business’s sake, but also minimize frustrations and stress. You cannot please everyone, and therefore, we must have some form of a pecking order of the most important stakeholders.
Avoid The Jargon
If you’re trying to build a bridge with an external stakeholder, and they are from another country, and English is their second language, it is critical to avoid jargon and speak plainly. You might have an understanding of every piece of technical jargon, but you shouldn’t expect your stakeholders to have this type of knowledge. International stakeholders will have a lot of sway, and if they feel like they don’t understand what’s going on, they have a right to interrogate you on the bits they are unsure of. There is no point in trying to baffle people with foreign terms, which is why we should exercise clear communication. It’s not just an exercise in speaking with stakeholders, but one that will help you in communicating throughout your business.
Understand Their Input
A stakeholder is someone who can make massive changes to the organization by simply exerting their authority. Stakeholders need to see how they have influenced something or why something was rejected. When we become better facilitators and show how stakeholders are being heard by the organization, this will make for a far smoother relationship. We can’t please everybody all of the time, but we need to show stakeholders why something was rejected, and this is why we always need to look at it from their perspective. Managing external stakeholders can be a complete minefield, especially those based in far-flung locations, which is why we need to adopt a very specific template on how we can operate with them to manage their expectations and also show what they are doing to influence the organization, but this all begins with setting specific expectations. You need to understand who they are, what they want, but also how you communicate with them, and this means you can highlight what your expectations are of them. Having a very clear delineation of rules is common sense because you’re not prolonging processes and doubling the allotted time for a project, which is why it’s important to have those expectations clearly laid out in a manifesto and be specific on how things like feedback will be incorporated or evaluated.
Working with stakeholders in different locations is tough because you’ve got to meet them on their turf. Rather than ignoring their input for the most part and placating them, use this as the perfect opportunity to bolster your business and improve your communication skills.