Partners are those who have a role in the response to a crises. Stakeholders are special interest audiences. Both are critical to your communication success. Even, or especially, during a visit you should be prepared to focus on stakeholders and partners because they may:

  • Know what you need to know
  • Provide points of view outside of your organization's
  • Contribute to more effective communication.

You must identify partners and stakeholders, understand their information needs, tell them what you need from them, and have a detailed plan of how to communicate with them during a crisis.
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Working With Partners

Partners are individuals and organizations that will play a role in crisis response. The following table lists essential actions that you should take.

Action To Take Explanation
Identify strategic partners know who must and can help in a crisis
Assess the orientation of their organization assess the orientation of their organization and issues that are important to them
Determine strengths, weaknesses, and potential roles analyze clearly and specifically what resources they can and are willing to add to effective communication
Determine roles and coordination details the devil is in the details; work out who, what, why, where, when, and how.
Develop contact sheets and understand organizational hierarchy have 24-hour emergency contact information and know who makes the decisions. Make sure you are connected to the right people to get action.

Working With Stakeholders

Stakeholders are persons or organizations who have a special connection or interest in your organization. The following are examples of stakeholders that you may encounter:

  • Employees
  • Families
  • Retirees
  • Board members
  • External advisors
  • Clients/consumers of your organization
  • Local residents
  • Business and community leaders
  • Elected officials
  • Consumer action groups
  • Union or labor organizations
  • "Competitors"
  • Legal advocates
  • Media
  • Public.

Stakeholders' Assessment

As you compile your list of Stakeholders, be sure that you know the answer to the following questions.

  • Who are your most important stakeholders?
  • What issues are most important to them?
  • Who should be the point of contact?
  • What is their relationship to your organization (advocate, adversary, or ambivalent)?

Also, you should know what kind of stakeholder you are working with. Realizing this will determine what your communication objective is.

  • Advocate/maintain loyalty If you stakeholder is an advocate, your communication objective is to maintain loyalty.

  • Adversary/discourage negative action If you stakeholder is an adversary, your communication objective is to discourage negative action.

  • Ambivalent/keep neutral or move to advocate If you stakeholder is an ambivalent, your communication objective is to keep them neutral or move to advocate.

To assess your stakeholders' likely reactions to a crisis and to guide your response, you can use the Stakeholder Reaction Assessment Sheet.

Here is an example of a completed Stakeholder Assessment.

Remember, to work effectively with stakeholders, be accessible, respectful, timely, clear in your communication, and dependable.

The follow are mistakes that are often made when dealing with stakeholders:
  • Inadequate access
  • Lack of clarity
  • No energy to response
  • Too little, too late
  • Perception of arrogance.
To minimize negatives with stakeholder, remember the following points:
  • Emphasize factors that inspire trust
  • Pay attention to response process and engage partners
  • Explain organizational procedures
  • Promise only what you can deliver
  • Be forthcoming.


Video Clips:
video:  Grant on "Know players ahead of time"30 Grant on "Know players ahead of time"