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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

How to Set Communication Goals to Improve Your Social Relationships

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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