Effective Communications with External Stakeholders

Establishing effective communications with potential licensees or prospective partners external to your institution or enterprise is a daunting task. Successfully getting someone’s attention, developing the business case for a constructive dialog, and establishing the proper protocol for effective interactions can be quite complex and time-consuming. My tips for effective communications with external associates include the following techniques.

 

1.     Empathy. It is worth the investment of your time to conduct background research on your prospective partner’s business including market strategy, financial condition, and recent news and events to increase your chances of conducting successful meetings and negotiation sessions. To the extent possible, seek multi-dimensional win-win-win agreements for strategic self-sustaining partnerships.

 

2.    Value Proposition. It is often wise to assume that your target contacts are overworked and paralyzed from information and assignment overload. It will work to your advantage to develop a succinct “elevator speech” on the value and benefits that your institution brings to the relationship. Be prepared to utilize multiple communication approaches that best fit the most appropriate communication style for your target audience.

 

3.    Communication. Attempt to speak in the language of your partner, being sensitive to the use of acronyms and the vernacular of your office, industry, or institution. Effective listing skills are quite often the most powerful proficiency that you can utilize for effective communications to establish new professional relationships.

 

4.    Investment. Results are typically commensurate with investments of time and resources. If you are negotiating or facilitating a big deal, prioritize, plan, and invest your time proportionately. Successful outcomes result from clearly defined deliverables, roles, and responsibilities while proactively managing expectations throughout the process.

 

5.     Metrics. It is important invest time to clearly define the appropriate criteria for success. Ideally, the criteria should be objective, rational, and relatively easy to measure. Once defined and agreed upon, monitor, track, and proactively communicate the results to key stakeholders.

 

Effective personal and professional relationships are a function of trust through consistent communications with integrity. Effective communications is the foundation to executing deals and developing new productive external relationships for your institution.

—By Jack Spain

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