Best Stakeholder Engagement Strategy & Communications Plan Guide


Everything You Need for Implementing a Communication & Stakeholder Management Plan

Published for Change Management Practitioners, Project Managers, and Program Leads, this free guide provides you with everything you need to know about the best stakeholder communication plan for engaging with key stakeholders in a project. It includes details on stakeholder communication strategy examples, samples, templates, and change tools that you can use for your needs.

During project implementation, a lack of communication can result in failure. If the stakeholders being impacted by a change aren’t properly informed and engaged, there’s a low chance that they’ll be able to successfully adopt the culture, process, tool, etc. required by the project.

What do we mean by that?

One failure of stakeholder communication strategy example is a company that recently adopted a new team messaging tool. The company’s project, IT, and delivery teams properly installed the tool on all user devices and also set up user accounts. However, users and stakeholders were not properly informed about the new tool that they were expected to use until it was time to switch.

With no prior stakeholder engagement and communication about the upcoming change, most end users at the company resisted using the new tool. They kept using their old method of team communication instead, and developed workarounds rather than using the new tool. Thus, the project adoption failed, even though “technically” it was implemented successfully.

See Also: Software for managing stakeholder communication plans

It is nearly impossible to achieve project success without change management success on the people side of a project. A big part of that change management success is the stakeholder management and communication plan.

communication and stakeholder engagement plan template

Guide to a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and Communications Plan

In this guide for a stakeholder management communication plan, we’ll define what this plan should look like and why it’s important. We’ll also go through a step-by-step communication and stakeholder engagement plan template that you can use as a reference for your own projects.

Where do you begin putting together your stakeholder engagement communication? When do you deploy your communication and stakeholder management? We’ll tell you in this guide.


stakeholder management communication plan template

Stakeholder communication management starts with your stakeholder assessment. Use the OCM Solution Stakeholder Management Template to help you!

The sections below provide you with the detailed steps to carry out a stakeholder communication strategy, approach and implementation for your project.


Table of Contents – Stakeholder Communication Strategy

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

1. What Is a Stakeholder Communication Plan?
2. Why Is a Project Communications Management Process Important?
3. What Is the Best Way to Communicate with Stakeholders?
4. In Which Phase of Your Project Should You Start a Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan?
5. Overview: Developing a Stakeholder Engagement Communication Plan
     a. Identify Groups Being Impacted by a Project
     b. Identify Key Stakeholders in the Impacted Groups
     c. Determine the Types of Communications Needed
     d. Develop Your Key Project Messaging
     e. Create Your Stakeholder and Communication Plan Schedule
     f. Have Communications Drafted & Reviewed
     g. Deploy Your Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
     h. Track Stakeholder Communication Strategy Metrics & Enhance Your Plan
6. Conclusion

We recommend that you take the time to review each section below. They provide what you need to know for an effective project communications management process for stakeholders, and reference stakeholder engagement and communication plan template options that you can use for your projects.

Also included is a stakeholder communication plan example. If you have obtained the OCM Solution toolkit for stakeholders and communications, you can easily export a communication and stakeholder engagement plan template download for offline use.

In addition, if needed, you can print out this whole guide to read and review it offline.

See Also: Software for managing stakeholder engagement


What Is a Stakeholder Communication Plan?

Your stakeholder management communication will be done throughout a project that is impacting stakeholders in an organization. It’s the strategy you put together to ensure everyone knows what they need to know when they need to know it.

For example, a communication and stakeholder management plan would include making everyone that needs to know aware of an upcoming change that is impacting their day-to-day activities.

You would typically call this type of introduction to a change, an “awareness communication.”

It’s important to tell people BEFORE they need to adopt a new process, procedure, tool, or other change. Otherwise, they won’t be properly prepared or ready to do what’s needed of them when the project is “live” (i.e., deployed in the organization).

A stakeholder communication strategy example would include things like:

  • The type of communication (awareness, scheduling, training, survey, etc.)
  • The audience for the communication (organizational group or external)
  • How the communication is being given (email, messaging, meeting, etc.)
  • What the communication is
  • Who is responsible for delivering the communication
  • Important dates, (start date, end date, and sent date)

Your stakeholder management and communication plan will include all the things you need to make people aware of and a schedule for providing those communications.


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Is there a best stakeholder engagement communication plan Excel or online template that you have used that you would like to share with other project managers and change leads? Please, reach out and let us know.


Why Is a Project Communications Management Process Important?

Why can’t you just have one meeting to tell people about a project that’s impacting them and leave it at that? If you want any communication to be successful, you need to reinforce it in multiple ways and several times. It also should be personalized for the activity and group.

Trying to capture all the things that need to be communicated during stakeholder engagement and communication for a project in just one or two meetings isn’t going to ensure your message sticks.

People tend to tune out and forget information when they have too much incoming at one time. Your stakeholder communication management should include a variety of different communication types as well as give stakeholders “bite-sized pieces” of information when they need it.

What type of a difference does a good stakeholder management communication plan make? Here are a few statistics:

  • Businesses with effective internal communications see 3.5x better results
  • 86% of employees blame company failures on poor communication
  • Well-informed employees outperform their peers by 77%

Often, the success of project implementation will depend upon how effective the stakeholder engagement communication is before, during, and after the project solution is deployed.


What Is the Best Way to Communicate with Stakeholders?

The best way to communicate when putting together a stakeholder management communication plan template is… many different ways!

Some people are visual learners, some prefer information in short snippets of text, others may remember it better with a face-to-face meeting or video.

You should include a multi-prong strategy when developing your communication and stakeholder management plan. You want to ensure that you are using different channels of delivery for your various types of communications.

A stakeholder communication plan example of online communication delivery channels would be:

  • Social media posts
  • Internal messaging app (like MS Teams or Slack)
  • Internal team site
  • Email
  • Company blog
  • Virtual meeting
  • Pre-recorded on-demand videos

An example of offline communication delivery channels for a stakeholder engagement strategy and communications plan would be:

  • In-person meetings
  • Team workshops
  • Postcard mailers
  • Corporate events

We recommend using at least four different delivery channels when planning your overall stakeholder communication strategy.


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See also: OCM Solution stakeholder engagement and communication plan template, samples & tools.


If you have any questions about using the stakeholder assessment guide and stakeholder communication plan outlined in this guide, reach out to let us know. Your stakeholder and communication plan are critical to users’ adoption of the changes the project requires.


In Which Phase of Your Project Should You Start a Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan?

If you are following a change management model or framework, such as the OCM Solution Change Management Framework, you’ll note that there are typically different activities performed at different phases of a project.

For example, the OCM Solution Change Model has five phases:

  • Phase 1: Assess
  • Phase 2: Develop
  • Phase 3: Deploy
  • Phase 4: Normalize
  • Phase 5: Exit

Before you know who to target in your stakeholder management communication plan, you need to assess stakeholders. During this stakeholder assessment, you should differentiate them by type to guide your engagement.

This stakeholder analysis should be done during Phase 1 (the Assess Phase) in alignment with your other change assessments.

Developing your stakeholder engagement communication plan will come in Phase 2 (the Develop Phase).

You will deploy that stakeholder management and communication plan in Phase 3 (the Deploy Phase) and Phase 4 (the Normalize Phase).

Don’t Miss: Stakeholder engagement and communication plan template


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Do you have a stakeholder communication strategy example or feedback on best practices for creating a stakeholder communication plan? Please, reach out to us.


Illustration: Stakeholder Communication Plan Example Dashboard

stakeholder engagement and communication plan

OCM Solution Stakeholder Management Tools for Your Stakeholder Strategy

Using stakeholder engagement and communication tools is essential to understanding who you need to communicate with, when you need to communicate with them, and what you need to communicate to them. 


Overview: Developing a Stakeholder Engagement Communication Plan

The project communications management process begins when you are doing some of your other analyses. Namely, the change impacts assessment and the stakeholder analysis. These are included in the first two steps below.

Following is an overview of the steps you’ll take to complete a stakeholder communication plan:

1. Identify Groups Being Impacted by a Project
2. Identify Key Stakeholders in the Impacted Groups
3. Determine the Types of Communications Needed
4. Develop Your Key Project Messaging
5. Create Your Stakeholder and Communication Plan Schedule
6. Have Communications Drafted & Reviewed
7. Deploy Your Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
8. Track Stakeholder Communication Strategy Metrics & Enhance Your Plan

Are there stakeholder communication plan examples that you would like to share with other project managers and change leads? Please, reach out and let us know.


 Stakeholder Communication Plan Example (Step-by-Step)


1. Identify Groups Being Impacted by a Project

During the change impact assessment, the groups being impacted by a project will be identified. These are the groups from which stakeholders will be determined. Those stakeholders will be targeted in your communication and stakeholder engagement plan.


2. Identify Key Stakeholders in the Impacted Groups

Your communication and stakeholder engagement plan template will need to include the key stakeholders. These would be the key managers, sponsors, leadership, or role representatives of an impacted group.

First, you should identify whether the group is internal or external.

Internal Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals and groups that are part of the company’s organizational structure and that are being impacted by the change.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders are groups and individuals that are NOT part of the company’s organizational structure (e.g., customers, suppliers).


Illustration: Stakeholder Communication Plan – Stakeholder Types Report

stakeholder communication management

OCM Solution makes it easy to plan stakeholder engagement communication per each stakeholder type.


Next, you’ll want to decide on your stakeholder types or categories. This will help you when populating your stakeholder management communication plan template because you’ll be able to sort and search according to each type of stakeholder.

Some of the main types of stakeholders to consider in your stakeholder communication plan are:

  • Primary stakeholders
  • Project sponsors
  • Critical stakeholder
  • Influencer
  • Change Agent/Champion
  • Impacted End-User

3. Determine the Types of Communications Needed

The scope and needs of the project will determine the different types of communications needed. There also may be different communications needed for different stakeholder types.

Some of the typical types of communications you’ll see in a stakeholder engagement strategy and communications plan will be:

  • Awareness
  • Scheduling
  • Training
  • Educational
  • Leadership Updates
  • Surveys
  • And more

stakeholder engagement strategy and communications plan

See also: OCM Solution stakeholder communication plan example, samples & tools.

Get your Stakeholder Mapping Tool, and start conducting your stakeholder management planning and analysis today.


4. Develop Your Key Project Messaging

Next, you’ll want to develop the overarching messages for your stakeholder communication strategy. This would include things like the main benefits of the project for the impacted stakeholders, and key project goals and vision.

While each communication will differ according to the objective, you want all messaging across your stakeholder communication plan to have a consistent theme and to repeat the same overarching concepts. Repetition fosters better message understanding and retention.

Check out the OCM Solution stakeholder management system, including a stakeholder dashboard to see if it is something that you can use to guide your stakeholder communication management and engagement.


5. Create Your Stakeholder and Communication Plan Schedule

For this step, you’ll take all the information gathered in Steps 1-4 and develop your list of communications that need to go out to your stakeholders and your timeline of when they will need to go out.

It’s very helpful to have a stakeholder engagement and communication plan template to input all this information. Especially one like the OCM Solution Communications Management Toolkit that will generate time-saving analytics, like your communications delivery schedule.


Illustration: Stakeholder Communication Plan Example Report

stakeholder communication strategy example

Use OCM Solution’s Stakeholder Management Toolkit to assess & manage stakeholders and Communications Management Toolkit for the stakeholder project communications management process.


6. Have Communications Drafted & Reviewed

Now that you have your communication and stakeholder management schedule in place, you’ll be ready to have the communications drafted and reviewed.

Don’t Miss: Best communication and stakeholder management guide, plan, and practices. Also, contact us if you have any questions or feedback about this stakeholder engagement strategy and communications plan tutorial.


7. Deploy Your Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

Now, you’ll send out your communications according to your stakeholder communication plan. You’ll want to keep track of when each communication goes out and what stage communications are in (being drafted, need approval, etc.).

Using a software template to manage your stakeholder communication strategy ensures that nothing gets missed, you have a place to track communication success, and can report easily on your activities to others.


Illustration: Stakeholder Communication Plan Example Template

communication and stakeholder management

OCM Solution Project Communications Management Process Template

Do you have any questions or feedback about this OCM Solution guide? Please reach out and let us know.


8. Track Stakeholder Communication Strategy Metrics & Enhance Your Plan

It’s important to track the metrics and KPIs for your stakeholder communication plan. This would include things like user engagement, delivery success, and whether recipients are taking the desired actions that the communication was intended to drive.

Analyze the metrics as part of your ongoing project communications management process and continually enhance your plan based on what you see.


Conclusion – OCM Solution Stakeholder and Communication Plan Guide

We hope this end-to-end stakeholder communication plan has helped in answering the key questions you might have had regarding how to implement an engagement and communication plan for stakeholders being impacted by a change.

Do you have a stakeholder communication plan example that you would like included in this guide? Contact us and let us know.


Stakeholder Management Communication Plan Template

The OCM Solution platform includes a Stakeholder Assessment & Management Tool with a best-in-class stakeholder management template, samples, and a 360-degree analytics view of impacted groups. It also includes a timesaving Communication Management Tool with communication schedule, reporting, and more.

OCM Solution gives you one place to handle all your communication and stakeholder management activities


Get Your Copy of the OCM Solution Toolkit for Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and Communications Plan!

stakeholder management communication plan template

Stakeholder Mapping Templates and Tools

stakeholder and communication plan

Communications & Messaging Templates and Tools


Stakeholder Communication Plan Example FAQ

What is a stakeholder communication plan?

The stakeholder communication plan is the strategy you put together to ensure everyone knows what they need to know when being impacted by change.

Why is a project communications management process important?

Often, the success of project implementation will depend upon how effective the stakeholder engagement communication is before, during, and after the project solution is deployed.

People need to be prepared and communicated with about upcoming changes for them to learn what is needed to adopt them.

What is the best way to communicate with stakeholders?

There is no single best way to communicate with stakeholders. The key is to use several different communication channels. We recommend using at least four different delivery channels when planning your overall stakeholder communication strategy.

What should be included in a stakeholder communication plan?

A stakeholder communication strategy example would include things like:
• Type of communication (awareness, scheduling, training, survey, etc.)
• The communication audience description
• How the communication is being given
• What the communication is
• Who is responsible for delivering the communication
• Important dates (start date, end date, sent date)


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