Stakeholder management is the process of actively and effectively involving and engaging people, organisations or groups that have interest and are of direct or indirect benefits to the event, in all matters of the event. This includes the events’ organisers, service providers and suppliers, the government and its agencies, sponsors, attendees, among many others.
The following are the key steps to effective stakeholder management.
Identify the primary and secondary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders are the important ones, without them the event cannot take place. They include the attendees, suppliers and sponsors. The secondary stakeholders are those who compliment or offer services which the event does not rely on e.g. the media or exhibitors. Determine the pros, cons, opportunities and challenges of involving them in the event and ensure they are of benefit to your organisation and the event economically and politically.
Analyse the input of each stakeholder and the likely output of the event to the stakeholders. Assess what you need and the help or support you require and the implications of their support. Determine if the stakeholders you want are popular amongst your targeted attendees, will they attract more attendees, or prevent people from attending the event? Weigh the implications of involving them in the event. Also, understand what interests the stakeholders have in the event. As they may have different interests, make sure they do not compromise your event and they are in line with your goals and objectives.
Put the stakeholders and stakeholder groups into different categories. Differentiate them according to their impact and importance. Value the stakeholders who show positive interest, are powerful and prove influential. Adopt different categories for stakeholders ie. contribution and placement, which will enable you to group the best skill sets.
It is important to understand the goals and interests of the stakeholders and integrate them into the event. Different stakeholders have different ways of engagement based on their interest and it is important to ensure the stakeholders are satisfied with the partnership. Make sure the concerns and capabilities of the stakeholders are addressed. Actively engage them in the decision-making process at every level during the event as the event partially belongs to them. Make sure you maintain a good relationship with the stakeholders by listening and involving them. Having a good relationship with the stakeholders plays a huge role in forming a future partnership for future events.
Different stakeholders have different roles and it is important to differentiate these roles. However, it is important to understand that each stakeholder is important because without them the event would fail.