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Getting SMART About Communication

Getting SMART About Communication

Author: Essential Skills

Use the SMART framework to write a communication-related goal.

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You’ve probably learned a few things about the communication skill while you worked through this course. Maybe you hadn’t thought much about the difference between formal and information communication. Or maybe you never really considered the importance of tone and audience. But, on the job, those things are important. How you communicate impacts how people at work--including colleagues, bosses, and customers--perceive you. To put your best foot forward, it’s important that you keep working on your communication skill.

Before you set goals around communication, go back through and list out some things you learned in this course so far. What new information about communication do you want to take more time to consider? You can set a goal around that area of communication!

One of the best ways to make sure you stay focused on being the best communicator you can be is to set goals. Setting SMART goals is a common strategy to help you achieve results, especially when it comes to important work-related goals. This might be a review if you have used SMART goals before, but it’s a good reminder of what each part of this goal-setting can look like. If you are new to SMART goals, you’re in luck. They’re an easy way to set clear goals around just about anything--and especially around communication.

SMART stands for:

S Specific Refers to the who, what, where, and why of your goal.
M Measureable How do you define what you want to happen? What has to happen to know the goal has been achieved? What data will measure the goal?
A Achievable/Attainable What resources/people/knowledge do you need to actually meet this goal?
R Realistic  Is the goal really something you can achieve? It’s okay it it’s lofty and will take a lot of work, but consider if it’s realistic
T Time-related What is the time-frame for achieving this goal?

Let’s say you realized you needed to practice active listening to improve your communication skill. You might set a SMART goal like:

By the end of next month I will intentionally practice active listening at work with at least one colleague, one customer, and my supervisor and then take time to reflect on how those conversations differed from times when I’m not actively listening.

You can use the SMART framework to help you create your goal:

S Specific What: Have conversations with people at work where I practice active listening techniques

Improve my active listening skills

At work

With at least three people at work (colleague, customer, and supervisor)
M Measureable Keep a journal to reflect on how these conversations differed from times when I haven’t practiced active listening, and active listening strategies used.

When appropriate, ask for feedback from my colleague, customer, and/or supervisor after these conversations.
A Achievable/Attainable I will use resources from this course and ask my supervisor and colleague to support and provide feedback on my efforts.
R Realistic Yes! I have conversations at work all the time and active listening is something emphasized at work and in performance reviews.
T Time-related 1 month, starting next week

Think about the SMART goal you want to set to get better with the communication skill. If you’re not sure what you need to work on, ask someone you work with what they think you could get better at. You don’t have to take their advice, but it might help you decide on a goal.