Introduction: Hello! My name is Cori Beskow. I’m manage the ARC Evaluation team and instruct PSYC 722B: Communication and Collaboration with Stakeholders within the Evaluation Studies program at UW-Stout.
PSYC 722B is a .2 credit online module focused on communicating and collaborating with your stakeholders. One of the learning objectives of this module is to understand the necessity of ongoing and interactive communication.
This learning objective aligns with competency 5.8 of the Professional Practice domain: Collaborates and engages in teamwork.
Communication & collaboration. Two things that should be no brainers, but can prove to be quite the opposite. Let’s start with communication. Have you ever found yourself thinking “I sent him/her 6 emails and haven’t heard back”? I have heard people say this and my first response is always “Did you try calling them or setting up an appointment?” The answer is almost always, “No”.
Even in today’s digital society, we must understand that not everyone uses the same forms of communication. Some clients will utilize email, some do best with phone calls, and others may require face-to-face meetings. Heck, some may text, Skype, or instant message. Adapting your communication style to fit your client’s communication style will ensure project details are discussed, aren’t misunderstood, and aren’t completely missed. So if you aren’t getting a response to that email, assume they haven’t read it, their inbox is full to the brim, and it isn’t an effective form of communication. Go ahead, pick up the phone!
Now let’s focus on collaborating with our clients. Great collaboration starts from day one. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for everyone on the team, including the stakeholders. Developing relationships early on fosters trust and understanding, which aids in collaboration. Don’t you want everyone to work together? Work smarter? Help each other? Of course, you do!
When sharing initial project details, work together to finesse everyone’s initial ideas and develop a final project plan. This helps ensure all stakeholder needs are being met. Keep communicating! Listen (I mean really listen) to the team. What issues are arising? How can you solve them together? Last, but not least, remember to have fun and be supportive. Celebrate successes along the project path. This will keep everyone engaged and wanting to do their part to ensure continued success until the end. Good luck!
How does stakeholder communication (or collaboration) show up in your work? What KSA’s do you possess that help you communicate (or collaborate) effectively with your stakeholders? We’re gathering data on EvalKSA‘s, share your responses to these questions with us!
Do you need additional training or professional development around stakeholder communication and collaboration? Our online training modules are available to start any time. They are self-paced and typically take between 9-12 hours. Sign up today! This blog post is part of a series that explores the relationship between the proposed American Evaluation Association competencies for evaluators and how they align with KSA’s needed to embody them in our work.