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Communication with stakeholders

How to decipher the cultural code of communication with stakeholders, teams, and users?

The whole world is built on communication, which is the key to achieving goals. Any hackathon, meetup, conference, or investor session is about communication, where every participant tries to find someone to talk to and share their ideas. 

Communication is a critical process that is significant and worth investing time in. Communication is one of the processes that need to be planned and worked out with each stakeholder group, whether it’s your team, investors, or customers.

When you work on your startup, you may not think about the main groups of stakeholders with whom you should constantly interact and communicate. In this article, you will learn how to identify the three main groups of stakeholders, which is the most important, and why you need to talk to them all and stay in touch.

Let’s divide your main stakeholders into three main groups:

  • the team you work with 
  • clients and users of the service
  • investors and networking, the government, the media, and everyone who can influence your product 

Communication with the team

You discuss your ideas with your team first and foremost. Your team is the people you know well, with whom you communicate daily, your friends, and celebrate birthdays together. Your communication with the team is the first in this communication horizon to create a successful synergy of contact with all stakeholders. 

Promote your team. When pitching a new idea, investors often ask about the team because it is the core that creates the product. Your task is to focus on your knowledge of the team and talk about them as much as possible, emphasizing the strengths of each member. This way, you can show the strong expertise of all team members who work on the product with you.

If you take the time to communicate with your team and discuss plans and projects, you’ll be sure that everyone is moving in the same direction. Each team member will independently share the events that are happening in the startup in the same way. 

In contrast, a lack of communication within the team can lead to an outflow of valuable players, problems in the construction of the startup, or leakage of uncoordinated information to stakeholders. 

Understand the feeling

Keep an eye on the mood of the interviewee during the conversation. Whether it’s a member of your team, a potential investor, or a partner, feel their mood. This will help you better understand the context of the conversation.

Customers and users

Communication with users aimed to collect feedback. The more feedback the team receives, the better they will understand the next steps in product development. This large group of stakeholders knows exactly what they want, and they can tell you how to improve the product if you start communicating with them.

When you’re developing a startup, you must respond to changes in user behavior. They can choose their way of using the product, and it is at this point that you need to react and start communicating with them. You have to listen to them, understand their culture, try to find ways to communicate, and find all possible communication channels with them. A good example of communication with users’ reviews is in the App Store, people are happy to write reviews for all products, so this is the channel of communication available to you to hear the product’s audience. But remember that people are likelier to share negative reviews than positive ones. Negative feedback gives you at least two valuable options. Firstly, you can understand what your target audience doesn’t like. Secondly, you can talk to the audience and provide transparent information about clear steps to correct the situation. 

Plan your communication. The more feedback you get from users, the more confident you will feel about your startup. 

Here are some types of communication you can plan: 

  • In-app or website surveys 
  • a survey of a focus group of users of your product 
  • An in-depth interview with one of your product’s users

Study the culture of clients and consumers

As corny as it may sound, you need to learn the culture of all three categories of stakeholders. You should clearly understand the culture of communication of your investors, users, and the culture within the team. If your product is company-oriented, then take the time to study the company’s culture. 

Ask questions 

Don’t be shy about asking questions. All your communication at the beginning of cooperation with a new client or investor should be full of questions. Get to know each other as deeply as possible, so your work will be easier and more synergistic.

Find out more 

When working with a new audience, look for as much information about them as possible. Find all available articles, analyses, and surveys, and read them. This way, you will be better prepared to work with a new segment and better understand the opportunities for product development.

Investors and stakeholders

People in this group have extremely high standards and will demand the most accurate communication from you. This is the group of people who are investing serious resources in your business, such as their time, money, and expertise. It is very important to keep in touch with them because your investors are a great source of knowledge. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask them for help or advice. Ask for anything because when it comes to helping, it doesn’t matter where or how you ask for it.

Investors or stakeholders can help you with different parts of your product or functionality. So if you see value in talking to any expert from any company, don’t hesitate to ask them for advice. Remember, though, remember, this group of stakeholders is very demanding, so treat them accordingly and share with them everything you think is worth sharing, such as product feature updates.

Ensure clear and transparent communication by scheduling meetings, brunches, or even email campaigns in advance. Take advantage of every opportunity to provide the investor with updates. 

Know your investor 

Find out as much information as possible before meeting with a potential investor. This can be the investor’s speeches at conferences, articles in journals and Wikipedia, or feedback from industry colleagues. Even talking to someone who knows them personally will help you prepare better. 

Pay attention and listen 

Be as proactive as possible when meeting with an investor, as their precious time is limited, so everything they tell you can affect you personally and the development of your product.

Look beyond the words 

When communicating with potential investors, write down all their questions to understand why they were asked. You may need to spend more time on a particular part of the pitch to reveal all sides of your product and team.

You are the only person responsible for the startup, so listen and check all the information you receive, even if you have a little doubt. Listen to all the stakeholders before making a crucial decision, but it’s best to listen to your feelings, as they will help you be more transparent and honest with yourself. Remember that you are the face of the company in front of investors, the team, and users. Speak to them as transparently as possible, schedule meetings in advance, and provide all the information you think is most relevant.

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