One factor that makes communicating with stakeholders difficult is assessing the impact the message has on the receiver. This can vary from individual to individual and the same person can react quite differently to similar messages at different times.
The challenge of communicating is dealing with the fact you have no idea of the perceptions many stakeholders currently hold of you and your project and you have no control over the other news the person is receiving.
Effective communication requires a shift in focus from the technical content of the message, the data you wish to communicate, to the effectiveness of the communication process. We have published and updated a series of White Papers focused on communication with a particular emphasis on documentation as a communication medium.
Basic communication theory is canvasses in WP1066, already discussed in our June post: Communication 101: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1066_Communcation_Theory.pdf
Effective writing is covered in WP1010: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1010_Writing_Skills.pdf
And our latest white paper, WP1065 focuses on the importance of page layout on the degree of comprehension your reader will achieve. Well-designed pages will achieve comprehension levels of up to 90% or better, this can crash to as low as 10% for a poorly designed page containing exactly the same information. Given you spend many hours compiling the data contained in a typical report, it is worth spending a few minutes thinking about effective document design to make sure most of the information is received and understood by your readers. For more on document design see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1065_Page_Layout.pdf