How to communicate the value of your work to the right people

For anyone starting a new project, Nia shares a workshop idea for stakeholder communication, and reflects on why talking about the work is a part of the work.


It’s not a word we love at Content Design London (CDL) because it sometimes feels vague and jargony. It can mean different things to different people.

Yet we often find that we use it in our work with clients because it’s a word they’re familiar with.

And stakeholders are important. Sometimes more important than we realise. These are the people who can support or block a project. 

We tend to describe stakeholders as people who:

  • are involved in the project, 
  • are affected by the project,
  • should know about the project,
  • might want to have a say in the project.

We need them to believe in the work, champion the work, talk about the work, adopt the work. And that takes time. 

Talking about the work is a part of the work

We talk a lot about things like: 

  • working in the open, 
  • getting buy-in, 
  • bringing people along with us. 

Communications consultant and friend of CDL, Giles Turnbull refers to this as ‘agile comms’, a way of lifting the lid on work in progress.

In simple terms, it’s about showing the value of our work to the right people to help make it a success. 

When we need to plan how we're going to earn the trust of knowledgeable people, this is what we do.

By showing our thinking behind the work, the process we take, and the impact the work has - and doing this in a regular and consistent way, we can start to build trust and support.

To give you an example, we’ve just started a new project with the digital team at Redbridge Council. Over the next 4 months, we’ll be working together to transform high-demand areas of the council website.

It’s exciting that Trusha, Corinne and the digital team are already exploring ways of working in the open. 

They’re a small team attached to a big organisation full of busy people. And we know just how challenging communicating with an organisation of this size can be. 

So, to help them get the support and buy-in they need, we’re making sure that talking about the work is a part of the work. 

Running a stakeholder and communications workshop

One of the first things we did as a part of our discovery with Redbridge Council was a stakeholder and communications workshop with the project team. 

The purpose was to define how we communicate the project to different stakeholders based on the things that matter most to them. 

The workshop helped us to:

  • consider all of the people involved in and affected by the work we’re doing,
  • look at the comms channels and content formats available to us and decide which are most appropriate,
  • think about how we communicate the value of the work.

We’d encourage anyone starting a new project to run a similar workshop. It works well remotely on a video call, and can be as simple as working in a shared Word or Google document. 

You could also invite people from across your organisation who have valuable insights about stakeholders and who you’ll need to work with on comms. For example, if you have an internal comms team or marketing team.

Here’s how we ran ours.

In a shared Word document, we created 4 headings and worked through the following, one by one: 

1. List stakeholders

We started by listing the different people or groups involved in or affected by the project. This included people within the council and outside of it, ranging from customer service staff and the communications team to council leaders and borough residents.

2. Consider what matters most to them

Next, we explored what each stakeholder cared about. Which aspects of the project would interest them most and why? This was sometimes linked to their pain points or challenges. 

For example, we knew that many of the stakeholders cared about reducing demand on the contact centre.

3. Think about frequency of communications

Next, we considered the frequency of communications to stakeholders. 

For example, we knew that contact centre staff would want to be informed regularly about any changes to website content, because they use it to help solve residents’ problems.

4. Decide on the best channels and formats

Linked to frequency, we then thought about the most appropriate channels and content formats to use for the communications.

We found it helped to list out all of the internal and external channels for the council first. These included things like staff and resident newsletters, recurring meetings, and printed publications. 

Forming a comms plan

All of this can form a comms plan for you. It can help you to: 

  • be considerate of your stakeholders’ time and attention,
  • focus on the elements of the work that matter most,
  • define the main messages you want to communicate,
  • group communications so that you’re not duplicating work and effort,
  • avoid adding to existing noise within and outside of the organisation.

Have you tried something similar? What things have helped you communicate your work to stakeholders? Let us know by emailing

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