Gartner EA Summit: Communication for EA

In this session, Robert Handler is giving a talk entitled Communication, Persuasion, and Interpersonal Skills for EA. In a previous job, I worked with someone who was passionate about communications. He helped us create a communication plan around SOA and our competency center, and I really think it made a huge difference in our efforts, so I had a keen interest in this topic. I’ve previously blogged on some of the subjects in this presentation, including my Focus on the consumer entry.

Robert is spending a lot of time talking about Marketing and Sales, which is a great approach for this subject. For example, one task in marketing is identifying and segmenting it. Robert correctly points out the different segments for EA (senior leaders, business unit leaders, IT leaders, and IT groups) all want different things. Great point. I’ve met many technical people who want to create one thing and expect that everyone will see the inherent value in it when there hasn’t been any effort to tailor it or present it according to the differing needs.

He’s also spoken about creating the delivery system. Are you going to use a web portal? Wikis? Think about how your EA deliverables will be sent out to your markets. He’s also addressed branding and its importance.

On the sales side, he’s begun with a discussion on stakeholder analysis, and a detailed level at that. Again, it’s about understanding how to communicate and sell to the particular personalities and how they make decisions. Do they want a lot of detail? Do they want structure? Do they want to hear more about people and social issues, or do they want specific tasks? Again, there’s no one approach, it’s about matching the right approach to the right person.

He’s now talking about persuasion, and presenting techniques from the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini. He defines persuasion loosely as getting people to reply to your requests. The principles associated with persuasion include:

  • Contrast principle: You can change the way someone experiences something by giving them a contrasting experience first.
  • Principle of reciprocation: people feel obligated to give back somethign similar to what was given to them.
  • Principle of scarcity: People want what they can’t have.
  • Principle of authority/credibility: People defer decisions to experts, legitimate or otherwise.
  • Principle of trust: Admit a flaw or weakness to show you are trustworthy.
  • Principle of consistency: People want consistency and to be viewed as consistent.
  • Principle of liking: People like those who like them, pleasant associations is the same as liking, people say yes to those who they believe are cooperating.

Message: keep these principles in mind as you sell EA. For example, he told us about a group that had little badges with LED lights that were given to projects that worked well with EA. The EA team was very stingy with them, however, adhering to the principle of scarcity. The result was that teams worked that much harder to be compliant, because they wanted these $2 badges that they could have ordered from Oriental Trading Company.

I’ve been really impressed with both of Robert’s sessions that I’ve attended. I’ve have to look into more of his research and recommend that other Gartner clients out there do so as well.

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