Improving communication has a range of flow-on benefits. Strong communication skills can help you gain more social contacts, become more persuasive, and increase workplace efficiency.
Scan through the following communication goals and select the examples that resonate most with you. Choose ones that you think are achievable and will help you to genuinely improve on weaknesses.
Then, once you’ve selected three to five objectives, scroll to the end of the article, where I’ll show you how to turn the objectives into SMART goals. This involves using the S.M.A.R.T acronym to create well-crafted goals that suit your personal circumstances perfectly. Don’t miss the SMART Goalsetting template that you can save and edit, or print out and fill in. That’s available at the bottom of the article, as well.
Communication Goals Examples
1. Enhance Listening Skills: I will strive to boost my understanding and ability to respond to verbal communications. I will accomplish this by committing to participate in at least two communicative workshops per month, using the feedback received from peers as a yardstick to measure my growth.
2. Cultivate Non-Verbal Communication Skills: I will aim to extend my capacities in perceiving and interpreting silent cues such as facial responses, body movements, and hand signals. I will work towards this by enrolling in a certified body language course, utilizing the earned certification as a metric to validate my achievements in this sphere.
3. Improve Public Speaking: I will dedicate myself to strengthening my public speaking abilities and to feel more comfortable and confident in front of an audience. I will aspire towards this by delivering at least one presentation per week in a professional or social setting, gauging my progress through the feedback and applause of my audience.
4. Refine Presentation Skills: I will make my presentations more engaging and effective. This can be achieved by studying and applying two new methods of audience engagement (for instance, using storytelling or incorporating multimedia elements) during the next six presentations I deliver, monitoring my success based on audience feedback.
5. Enhance Written Communication: I will aim at boosting my writing proficiency for more polished and persuasive written messages. This goal can be realized by participating in a professional writing course and implementing the learned skills in my daily communications, using the completion of the course and an evident improvement in my writing tasks as a measure of my progression.
6. Improve Interpersonal Communication: I will heighten my fluency in one-on-one, personal interactions. I can do this by committing to having constructive and meaningful conversations with at least two new individuals every week, using the development of deeper connections with my conversation partners as a way to track my improvement.
7. Develop Empathy in Communication: I will focus on cultivating empathy in my communication to build stronger relationships. This will be attained by completing a course in Emotional Intelligence within the next three months and applying at least one learned technique daily (for example, active listening and demonstrating understanding), using relationship growth as an indication of success.
8. Strengthen Email Communication: I will aim to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of my professional emails. This can be achieved over the next quarter by using newly learned techniques from a business writing workshop, with a reduction in follow-up clarification emails from recipients as a measure of progress.
9. Expand Networking Skills: I will aim to grow my professional network to foster career development. My strategy for achieving this over the next six months is to attend at least one industry-specific networking event per month and connect with a minimum of five new professionals at each event, using an increase in my professional LinkedIn connections as a metric for success.
10. Master Persuasive Communication: I will aim to perfect my persuasive communication skills to influence outcomes beneficially. To achieve this, I will enroll in a course specializing in sales and negotiation within the next three months, implementing given strategies (like the ‘Yes ladder’ technique) in my work, and measuring success by the positive responses I get from customers or colleagues.
11. Boost Communication Confidence: I will work to improve my self-confidence in communication situations. Over the following quarter, I’m planning to seek speaking opportunities in different scenarios (like team meetings or community gatherings), using the decrease in feelings of stress or anxiety as my success metric.
12. Improve Multicultural Communication: I will strive to better comprehend and communicate effectively with people from varied cultural backgrounds. This will be achieved by taking a cross-cultural communication course over the next two months and applying the learned skills (like respecting diverse viewpoints and customs) in my interactions, and watching for improvement in responses from culturally diverse individuals.
13. Refine Active Listening: I will focus on bolstering my active listening skills to promote better comprehension. I will attempt this by practicing active listening techniques (such as summarization or reflection) for every communication I have in the next two months, using the clarity of my responses as a measure of success.
14. Improve Constructive Criticism: I will work towards providing more effective constructive criticism. Over the next quarter, I will utilize professional development resources such as books and webinars to learn constructive feedback delivery techniques (like the ‘feedback sandwich’), measuring success by the improved attitudes and performance of those who receive my feedback.
15. Expand Vocabulary: I will work on expanding my vocabulary to communicate more clearly and effectively. This will be achieved by learning at least five new industry-related terms each week and integrating them into my daily verbal and written communication, using the increase in my linguistic repertoire as a measure of progress.
16. Improve Telephone Communication: I will concentrate on enhancing my telephone communication skills to portray professionalism and clarity, especially relevant in remote working environments. This will be accomplished by attending a telephone etiquette seminar within the next month and implementing the learned techniques (such as enunciated speech or listening attentively) during phone interactions, watching for feedback from recipients as a measure of success.
17. Enhance Group Communication: I will strive to make my contributions more substantive during group discussions or team meetings. Over the next quarter, by utilizing the strategies learned from a leadership communication course and engaging more frequently during discussions, my success will be denoted by the frequency of my ideas being adopted or incorporated into team projects.
18. Strengthen Crisis Communication: I will work on my crisis communication skills to better manage challenging scenarios. This objective can be achieved by taking a crisis management course within the next six months and applying the learned techniques (like maintaining calm and offering clear instructions) in a critical situation, using the successful resolution of the incident as a success metric.
19. Master Digital Communication: I will aim to improve my competence in digital communication platforms such as Zoom or Teams. Over the next two months, my goal is to attend at least three webinars or workshops on digital communication, applying new techniques (like mastering screen sharing or using the chat function effectively) in my online interactions, with fewer technical disruptions as a measure of growth.
20. Improve Adaptability in Communication: My goal is to become more adaptable in my communication to meet the receiver’s communication style. To do this, I will dive into the subject by enrolling in a course on diverse communication styles within the next trimester. By experimenting with different styles (like assertive or passive) in various situations, the increased satisfaction and comfort of my conversation partners will serve as indicators of my success.
21. Boost Conflict Resolution Skills: I will aim to improve the way I communicate during conflicts to build more robust relationships. I can accomplish this by completing a conflict resolution course in the next three months and practising the acquired tactics (like active listening and seeking common ground) during disputes, with a decrease in unresolved conflicts as a measure of progress.
22. Improve Technical Communication: My goal is to heighten my ability to explain complex technical concepts clearly and concisely to lay audiences. This will be achieved by attending a technical communication workshop and employing the learned techniques (like using layman’s terms), with the recipient’s understanding and appreciation as an indication of successful communication.
23. Increase Speed of Response: I will work to improve my response time in troubleshooting customer queries to enhance customer satisfaction. Over the next quarter, by incorporating a structured approach (like categorizing queries based on urgency) and tracking the time taken to respond, a reduction by 10% in average response time will indicate successful goal attainment.
24. Heighten Communication Effectiveness: My goal would be to minimize misunderstandings and ensure every message I communicate is received as intended. I plan to achieve this in the next six months by utilizing feedback effectively, verifying understanding, and refining my messages based on input received, with a reduction in miscommunications acting as a measure of success.
25. Strengthen Communication Consistency: I will aim to maintain consistency in my communications to ensure transparency and reliability. Over the next quarter, by ensuring that all communications align with my established personal or corporate brand, and making sure to review all outgoing communications, a decrease in breakdowns or confusing messages will serve as the goal metric.
26. Manage Communication Overload: My goal is to handle communication overload effectively to avoid burnout and increase efficiency. This can be achieved by setting specific times for checking and responding to emails or messages, and ensuring a balanced approach to communication in the next two months, with a decrease in stress levels and an increase in productivity as a measure of success.
27. Improve Visual Communication: I will focus on enhancing my skills in visual communication to better share information, such as data or processes. Over the next three months, I will learn to use at least two visual design tools, incorporating their use into my professional presentations (like PowerPoint or reports), with audience comprehension and positive feedback as indicators of success.
28. Refine Negotiation Skills: I will aim to hone my negotiation skills, benefiting both professional and personal situations. I will undertake a negotiation tactics course next quarter, applying the learned techniques (like finding a win-win solution), with a successful negotiation outcome serving as a measure of growth.
29. Boost Webinar Speaking Skills: I aim to excel in webinar speaking to effectively communicate and engage with remote audiences. Over the next three months, by participating in a webinar presenters’ class and using the gained tactics (like managing audience questions), an increase in positive feedback from webinar attendees will signal progress.
30. Enhance Social Media Communication: My goal is to upgrade my social media communication to engage with contemporary audiences more effectively. In the next quarter, I will learn to use at least three new social media platforms or features (like Instagram Stories), tracking my success through growing follower numbers and increased post engagements.
31. Improve Collaborative Communication: I will aim to foster better collaborative communications in team settings. Over the next six months, by training in team communication techniques (like constructive feedback) and applying them in team interactions, a higher degree of team cohesion and productivity will indicate goal achievement.
32. Enhance Client Communication: My objective is to deliver superior client communication to boost satisfaction and loyalty. This can be accomplished in the next trimester by seeking regular feedback and personalizing communications as per client preference, with increased satisfaction scores and repeat business serving as the success marker.
33. Strengthen Media Interview Skills: I will work to enhance my expertise when being interviewed by media outlets. This can be achieved by attending a media training seminar within the next three months, applying the learnt skills (like keeping responses concise) during actual interviews, and measuring success based on positive media coverage.
34. Boost Assertive Communication: My goal is to communicate more assertively to express myself effectively and stand up for my point of view while also respecting the rights of others. Over the next quarter, I will attend an assertiveness training class, adapt the learnt methods (like using ‘I’ statements), and assess success based on increased self-confidence and respect received from others.
35. Improve Public Relations Communication: I aim to refine my ability to manage and enhance the reputation of an organisation by strategic communication and other PR exercises. This will be achieved over the next six months by gaining a PR certification, implementing PR tactics (like press releases distribution) at work, and gauging success based on positive public perception.
36. Enhance Business Pitching: My objective is to perfect my business pitching skills to attract investors and clients persuasively. Over the next quarter, I will attend a sales pitching workshop, apply the learnt strategies (like emphasizing value proposition) during actual pitches, and measure progress based on the number of positive responses.
37. Increase Communication Responsiveness: I will work on increasing my responsiveness in communication to build better relationships and improve efficiency. Over the next three months, I will time my responses and aim to decrease the time taken to respond by 20%, using this decreased response time as a measure of success.
38. Strengthen Positive Language Use: I aim to improve my use of positive language to foster better relationships. Over the next six months, I will consciously incorporate more positive phrases and words into my communication (like appreciation words or positive affirmations) and track improvement through the reactions of the recipients and the overall enhancement of relationships.
39. Enhance Political Communication: I will aim to improve my political communication skills to persuade voters, negotiate effectively and navigate the political landscape with ease. Over the next six months, I will attend a course on political communication, implement the learned strategies (like framing political messages) in my work, and measure success based on a more effective communication strategy.
40. Improve Crisis Management Communication: I will work to bolster my crisis communication abilities, which are vital during emergencies. For this, I plan to undergo a crisis communication training within the next three months; applying the acquired tactics (like maintaining transparency), and success will be indicated by effectiveness during crisis situations.
41. Refine Proposal Writing: My objective is to refine proposal writing skills to get more approvals on projects or funding. I will take on a business writing course focusing on proposal crafting within the next quarter, using the skills acquired (like stating clear benefits) while drafting actual proposals, and tracking approval rates as a success indicator.
42. Enhance Feedback Receiving Skills: I plan to better receive and internalize feedback constructively. I will achieve this by actively asking for feedback on my assignments over the next two months, and by employing learned techniques (like not taking criticism personally), with noticeable improvement in work quality as a measurement of success.
43. Strengthen Communication Transparency: I am ambitiously dedicated to creating a transparent communication environment both in professional and personal relationships to foster trust. In the next three months, my goal is to implement strategies like regular updates and openness about challenges, with a marked increase in trust levels and more robust relationships as a success metric.
44. Upgrade Cross-Departmental Communication: I aim to enhance my communication skills with other departments to promote collaboration and understanding. Over the next quarter, by adapting techniques from an organizational communication course (like understanding different departmental jargons) and applying them, any achievement towards seamless interdepartmental cooperation will denote success.
45. Improve Sales Communication: I will focus on bolstering my communication abilities in sales to persuade potential customers or clients effectively. Over the next quarter, I will take a sales technique course, apply the learned selling points and tactics in my work, and evaluate success based on an increase in sales figures.
46. Enhance Conflict Communication: My goal is to refine my communication skills during conflicts to reach amicable solutions efficiently. Over the next three months, I will use valuable insights from a conflict resolution seminar, introduce the learnt techniques (like ‘agree to disagree’) in potential conflict situations, and gauge success by the reduction in escalated conflicts.
47. Refine Presentation Delivery: I aim to perfect the delivery of my presentations to engage and impress the audience effectively. I will participate in a public speaking workshop within the next two months, incorporate new techniques (like effective use of visual aids) in future presentations, and measure progress through audience feedback and participation.
48. Boost Transparency in Leadership Communication: I intend to foster a transparent communication culture within my team to build trust and openness. Over the next quarter, I will conduct regular team meetings, openly share information (like company updates), and gauge success based on team feedback and overall morale.
49. Improve Customer Service Communication: I will aim to refine my communication in customer service to enhance customer satisfaction. Over the next six months, I will use professional customer service training, implement effective techniques (like empathic listening) in conversations with customers, and track progress through increased customer satisfaction ratings.
50. Strengthen Emotional Intelligence in Communication: I will strive to boost my emotional intelligence in communication to build stronger, more empathetic relations with others. By attending an emotional intelligence training program over the next quarter and employing the learned skills (like recognizing others’ emotions) in my interactions, I can gauge my growth through strengthened interpersonal relationships.
Make SMART Communication Objectives
Hopefully, you found some communication goals that resonated with you. Now you’ve got your goals, let’s make them S.M.A.R.T.
SMART is a goalsetting acronym created by George Doran (1981) that stands for:
- Specific: Revise your goal and improve it so it’s more specific in terms of what success looks like. Explain it clearly, so there is no ambiguity.
- Measurable: Write down how you will measure progress and success. You need to set out a clear measure of success now so you don’t end up moving the goalposts on yourself later on.
- Achievable: Reflect on whether you can truly achieve this goal. Is it within your grasp with effort and commitment? If not, now is the time to make it easier or harder, to set it at a challenging but achievable standard.
- Relevant: How is your communication goal relevant to your larger objectives in education, your career, or life? This short-term goal should be aligned with your long-term goals in order to sustain motivation and ensure it makes sense for you to be pursuing this milestone.
- Time-Bound: Set an end-date for when you will achieve success. On this date, you will pause and measure whether you met the goal. With a deadline, you’ll be able to pressure yourself into getting to work and not putting it off to another day.
To help you to build out your SMART communication goals, I’ve created this template for you. Open it up, save a copy for yourself so you can edit it, or print a copy and write out your goals by hand:
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]