Is creativity dying? Has envisioning become a luxury or an all too rare skill? Have we become so self-absorbed that we can only see what is in front of us? Or is it all down to laziness? How could we possibly get buy-in from stakeholders without having to develop a complete product?
I started by thinking that some people can't imagine anything beyond to what's in front of them.
The main contributor to losing our stakeholders' attention is laziness. Being creative is hard, that's why we feel comfortable with no change.
What I found really annoying was that to discuss an idea with my stakeholders or clients I needed to show them the actual final results, all because they couldn't imagine it.
So I started questioning myself, was it I who couldn't communicate properly? Mostly yes!
Moreover, it was not lacking imagination. It was simply a lack of trust.
Those I was communicating with didn't trust me enough to listen properly much less make the effort of imaging what I wanted to get across.
Who are they? My stakeholders and my clients.
What did I have to do to get buy-in from stakeholders?
1. When they didn't trust me, maybe because it was my first time working with them, I found somebody they care about.
This is my back up strategy. Sometimes outsourcing your communication is worth the effort. Get somebody they care about (or seem to trust) to deliver your message. In my particular experience, while working in a company, the first months sometimes years working for them I had to use external suppliers to communicate my message.
No, it's not cool that your ideas are presented as somebody's else idea. But after some months of hearing external suppliers saying the same thing I've been saying my stakeholders finally needed to hear it (again) from me. External suppliers are not the only option, sometimes more senior stakeholders or more senior colleagues can do the trick as well. I just had to convince the right person to drive my message to others.
2. Give them what they "want"? am I crazy?
Yes, in order to build a communication channel, try giving in bits.
Ok, how did I do that? Wireframes were the key for me. I didn't have to do a full final product but I use different wireframes with different levels of fidelity depending on the situation to convince them or at the very least capture their interest.
3. Look for additional evidence
They have the right not to believe you - at the end of the day, you're not the only expert out there. Find evidence that demonstrates how feasible, worthy your idea is.
How? Interview your audience and test your product.
Creative minds are not dying, they are just getting lazy and overwhelmed with so much information every day.
However, you can make full use of what little time you have their attention for, to convince them with your ideas.
SKIM reader version
If you want your stakeholders to buy in, you can't work alone or rely only on your own experience and previous knowledge.
- Find evidence that proves your concepts
- Outsource your message to someone with no bias
Do you want to know more about these tools? Leave us a comment
Over to you: How often do you get easy buy-in? What tools do you use?