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233 TIPS Graphics and Visu De al sign 233 TIPS ON GRAPHICS AND VISUAL DESIGN Ten Tips on Getting Buy-In from Stakeholders Stakeholders need to know that you are working both for their best interests and for those of their clients. When designing interfaces and interactions, make sure you aren’t adding a burden to one group to benefit the other. Some will argue that there is always a cost and that not everyone can win. While I understand this may have to happen in some situations, I disagree that it has to be the norm. Creating value for all parties is both desirable and possible in most cases. Having the patience (usually with yourself) and ingenuity to get to that solution is something you will need to own. Nicholas Rider, Indiana Wesleyan University Develop a style guide that is approved by the organization or the stakeholders. Jo Ann Froman, Goodwill Industries Manasota Stakeholders are among the most important people in any training project because without them, there would be no reason for the project to even take place. If there’s one piece of advice you take with you about stakeholders, it should be “Listen.” Take the time to meet in person where possible and have real conversations with your stakeholders, regularly; ones where you really listen! Ask questions, and forget about feeling self-conscious or coming across as naïve. People will respect your openness and appreciate your honesty when you seek to understand their priorities and interests. Learn whatever you can about them and from them, and most importantly, find a way to understand their needs. The information they provide you with and how you use it is invaluable, and will be integral to the success and long-term benefits of your work. Sadly, in many projects, training is treated like an add-on that gets a last-minute invite to the party. IDs are often discouraged to take the time to meet with stakeholders but told instead to just “get on with” designing. On every project I’ve ever worked on where the stakeholders were fully engaged, the results of the training were outstanding and genuinely made a difference to the participants and to the organization as a whole. Not only that, but the training delivery continued beyond the bounds of the project and often led to further training projects as a result. Be courageous, build relationships with your stakeholders, and seek to understand their priorities. Their commitment and contribution will be one of the most valuable assets you have in your design tool kit. After all, even with all the models, systems, and structure in the world, training is really about the people. Laura Hesketh, Tree Frog Training 52

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