Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 15, 2020

How to Set Communication Goals to Improve Your Social Relationships

How to Set Communication Goals to Improve Your Social Relationships

Communication is essential for maintaining healthy social relationships. It is also a major vehicle of progress.

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers identifies communication skills as the most sought quality in job candidates.[1] Many of the setbacks experienced on the path to success can be traced to the inability to communicate accurately and effectively.

It is, therefore, essential to set communication goals to boost your reputation, strengthen your relationships, and improve your work delivery.

This article is about how to set communication goals and what those goals should include.

What Are the Goals of Communication?

Whether it is personal or corporate communication, the primary essence of communication is to inform, influence, inspire, motivate, build relationships, learn, gain inspiration, promote yourself, and socialize.[2] Communication is also used for persuasion, negotiation, and improving work delivery.

To achieve the goals of communications mentioned above and make the most of your conversations, you can deliberately set your own communication goals. You can gear these goals towards improving or developing your verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills.

How to Write Communication Goals

1. Identify the Areas of Deficiency

Writing your communication goals begins with identifying your areas of deficiency in communication. To identify these areas, you have to evaluate your life and work, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the things that have drawn you back the most in your relationship with people or at work?
  • What feedback do you get from friends and colleagues?
  • What are the things you have been unable to achieve because of your perceived limitations in some areas of communication?

2. Define What You Want to Achieve

Now that you have identified your areas of deficiency, you need to define what you want to achieve. This would be how you want to fill the gaps that you have identified or how you want to develop yourself.

3. Outline the Goals

Outlining your communication goals involve writing out what you desire to achieve and to what extent you want to achieve them. It also includes when you intend to get results for your goals

Advertising

4. Make Your Communication Goal SMART

The idea of making goals SMART is to make your goals feasible. A popular quote about setting goals states that “a goal properly set is halfway reached.”

Many goals that are not properly set end up as unfulfilled dreams. Therefore, you have to set your goals in Specific terms, with measurable objectives, writing out how they are achievable and relevant to your needs, and the timelines you hope to achieve them.

14 Examples of Communication Goals

1. Improve on Diction

One of the things that can make your communication effective is your diction. Diction has to do with your style of speaking or writing which is determined by your choice of words when conveying an idea or point of view.[3]

Your choice of words should fit into the context in which they are used so that the listener or reader can easily understand the message you are passing across.

Master the appropriate use of words in communication contexts

2. Be More Engaging When Communicating

To be engaging is to be able to draw in a person (or an audience) with interesting content or conversation.[4] If you want your audience/recipient to commit attention when listening to you or reading from you, you have to devise ways to be engaging with your content.

Develop the set of skills required to keep an audience interested and engaged in a conversation

3. Become an Active Listener

There are two gates to the mind: the gate of the eyes, and the gate of the ear.

The key to comprehending what is being said is active listening. If there is a missing link when listening, some information may not be fully comprehended, leading to faulty feedback or response.

Advertising

Create weekly sessions for active listening without any form of distraction

4. Manage Emotions

Giving or receiving information comes with lots of emotions such as excitement, sadness, shock, fear, surprise, anger, elation, depression, hurt, etc. The expression of emotions can make or mar effective communication. Great communicators learn to put emotions under control.

Practice putting emotions under control and respond to information based on what is best in facilitating mutual understanding and progress.

5. Become Relatable

Being relatable means keeping the lines of communication open so that people can be naturally drawn to you[5].

This is an essential social and work skill. You don’t want to miss out on important information or miss the crucial feedback that you can get from people about themselves, yourself, and your work. Pull down communication barriers and develop habits and skills that make you a relatable individual.

6. Effective Email Communication

Email has become a vital tool for communication, especially for work and business. You have probably sent and received tons of emails from people you have never met, but this email contact with them has already given you some perspectives about them.

Learning how to communicate appropriately and professionally via email can help you get more cooperation from associates and win you more business. Learn how to be courteous and professional when handling email conversations.

7. Be Persuasive

Being able to sell yourself and your ideas is an essential skill. While you don’t have to always have your way when communicating with people, you have to sound convincing.

Being persuasive is a skill that would be especially useful when you are dealing with skeptics or you find yourself in a competitive environment. Learn the techniques of persuasion and apply them in conversations.

Advertising

8. Improve Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is described as “a process where two or more parties with different needs and goals discuss an issue to find a mutually acceptable solution.”[6] This skill is essential in finding common grounds with people and avoiding reaching a deadlock in conversations.

By learning how to negotiate, you will also be able to win more things for yourself in difficult situations. Improve your negotiation skills so you can always get the best possible result.

9. Be Objective in Conversations

To be objective is to reflect on situations based on facts rather than personal feelings, self interpretations, or prejudice.

People who are not objective can be difficult to deal with as they only see things from their point of view. When you are objective, however, you will be able to look at issues with an open mind and that would lead to having robust conversations.

Let the goal of every conversation be to understand and speak of facts rather than opinions.

10. Give Constructive Criticism

Criticism is what we give when we find some inadequacies in what someone else has done. Most people are quick to point out what someone has done wrong without proferring solutions. Show people what they have done wrong, but also appreciate what they have done right and also show them how they can be better.

Develop the consciousness to always give constructive criticism.

11. Be Inspiring

To be inspiring, you need to be enthusiastic. You also have to genuinely care about people and show them how they can be their best.

Also, do things deliberately to show example and inspire others. Go all out in inspiring people with your work and deeds.

Advertising

12. Improve on Team Communication

Team communication involves all interaction and exchanges of information that goes on in a team [7].

If you are a part of a team, you need to play your part to keep the line of communication going so that the team can achieve its goals. Always communicate actively with your team to help achieve its goals.

13. Understand Body Language

Communication goes beyond what is being said. There are other things to look out if you want to comprehend the information someone is passing across and discern their intents. This includes eye contact, facial expression, gesticulation, etc.

Learn how to read body language and their implication in a conversation

14. Improve on Communication Follow-Up

Most communication encounters don’t end at once. Thus, there is the need to follow up and tie up loose ends, get feedbacks, set reminders, or move on to the next things.

Failure to follow up might lead to missing out on important outcomes. Some people might not take some matters seriously until they have been properly followed up. Follow up on important conversations and pursue matters to a reasonable end.

Final Thoughts

If you look deeper within yourself, you will find opportunities to improve your communication and make the best of your relationships. There is much to gain when you master the art of communication.

Knowing how to communicate and manage communications effectively is an essential skill both for now and for the future.

More Tips for Improving Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them 5 Tips To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed And Overcome Procrastination How To Make A Vision Board That Works 35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro

Trending in Smartcut

1 How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life 2 How to Start a Small Business From the Ground Up That Thrives 3 How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples) 4 How To Make A Vision Board That Works 5 13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

Advertising

Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

Advertising

4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

Advertising

Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

Advertising

Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

Read Next