8 tips on stakeholder engagement and event organization - Part 1

8 tips on stakeholder engagement and event organization - Part 1
Engaging stakeholders in various events during your project lifetime can be challenging, but it’s an activity you can’t do without. There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe, however, I can definitely give you a few tips you can take away from my own experience. 


1. Know your communication and dissemination KPIs well  

When it comes to project implementation and management, it is easy to focus on the Work Package description text and forget other important sections, such as the Description of Action, which is the Communication and Dissemination Plan or KPIs described within the Excellence and Overall methodology subsection. This happens whether you are a Coordinator, Work Package or Task leader. At the proposal stage, a draft communication plan has to be prepared, and depending on the type of project, one has to provide more details about the audience to be reached. Some projects have a strong component of raising awareness, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building. In this case, there might be KPIs described in the overall Methodology. The activities connected to co-creation, capacity building, and networking are usually translated into the organization of face-to-face meetings or online events. This is why an essential part of organizing these events, which concern external audiences (and not project partners), is to know your KPIs; in some cases, you have a minimum of stakeholders/attendees per workshop or event, or in other cases you have a total audience to be reached by the end of the project. Either way, check your KPIs! 


2. Early on, do research on similar events and make notes 

After knowing the expected number of participants, doing desk research on similar recent events is good. This will help you put together an exciting and up-to-date agenda, getting to know key experts in the field, state-of-the-art technology (if relevant to your project), and the most recent viewpoints and controversial side of the topic of your workshop. If material is available, learning about the outcomes and conclusions of these events is also very valuable to help you decide on the agenda and your attendees, including icebreakers, co-creation activities (if relevant), breakout sessions, etc.  


3. Learn about the attendees and sister projects  

Ideally, you already have access to some of the stakeholders who are part of your target audience, and they are aware of the existence of the project. If this is not the case, take some time to identify key potential participants. After this, learn about what they do, their vision and mission and whether they have similar projects which can be promoted in your event; if you give the speaker a chance to talk about their current projects, it is most likely that they will take the opportunity to share their work. When contacting the attendees, prepare a one-pager about the project and refrain from sending a PowerPoint project overview, which they will probably not read. 


4. Carefully choose the date  

Check what EU events are happening on or around the selected date, as well as deadlines for submission of proposals. After deciding and announcing a date in advance, the Project Officer and/or Policy Officer would remind you about a relevant event happening in Brussels on the same date and that they expect the same stakeholders' attendance (online or face-to-face). Another factor that can negatively affect your event's attendance is that you have scheduled an event one day before a call for proposals is closed, and some participants prefer to cancel on you because of the workload they have those days before the submission.   

With this said, stay tuned for the next 4 tips on your pathway to successfully organizing events and engaging your stakeholders in your project. 

In the meantime, don’t forget about our January-June 2024 courses, which you can check out and sign up for here.  

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