Stakeholder Communications

These quick tips are divided into three groups: principles, engaging stakeholders, and messaging tips.

Core principles to Inform Stakeholder Engagement and Communication

  • Understand the current landscape, including the mindsets and attitudes of those you are seeking to inform, engage, or mobilize.
  • Link to a common cause and belief, and create a shared vision and goals.
  • Involve new voices and leaders from all sectors to expand the base of support.
  • Set a direction for moving forward based on a realistic and manageable agenda that recognizes the role of compromise.
  • Promote cultural and linguistic competency within the early childhood learning community.
  • Provide factual, compelling information in useable forms for all stakeholders.

Practical Tips for Engaging Stakeholders

  • Communicate what can actually change as a result of engagement and what will not change.
  • Share with stakeholders whether they will be involved in the final decisionmaking or whether their engagement is for input only.
  • Communicate expectations for the level of input required of stakeholders.
  • Inform stakeholders early on about how the outcomes of the stakeholder engagement process will be communicated.
  • Be open and honest about objectives and planned activities.
  • Do not make promises that are not achievable.
  • Be direct in addressing key concerns.

Messaging Tips

  • Account for the perspectives of those who will be hearing your message when you develop it, and develop it with their perspectives in mind.
  • Verify the accuracy of your message with colleagues, staff, and others in the state structure with an interest and valuable input (for example, agency communications officer, legislative liaison, or policy leader).
  • Deliver clear, concise messages in a timely manner.
  • Use plain language and minimize jargon.
  • Share your key messages with colleagues who might be engaging with the same group of stakeholders to ensure that they are informed and that everyone in the state system remains consistently on message.
  • Ensure the message is targeted to the relevant audience.
  • Understand your target audience and the context in which they’ll receive your messages.
  • Consider multiple formats and opportunities to deliver messages, taking into account different adult learning styles and methods as well as cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity.
  • Consider the languages used in your state and how to effectively deliver information and messages in these languages.