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Are you looking for ways to improve your interpersonal skills? Interpersonal skills are a set of people skills that include communication, listening, conflict resolution, and even empathy. So it’s no surprise that they are essential for building healthy personal and professional relationships.
Whether you want to work these so-called “soft skills” for personal or career reasons, the SMART goals framework can help you. In this article, you’ll find 8 SMART goals examples for interpersonal skills.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are not like your usual vague plans for the far future without any concrete steps to achieve them. For example, statements like “I want to buy a yacht” are typical on goal lists, and while they’re excellent to have, they’re not SMART goals. Instead, a SMART goal functions more like a plan of action, with every letter in the acronym representing a criterium to ensure that you’ll meet your goal.
Let’s break down what each letter stands for and cover what it means.
When setting your goals, they should be as specific as possible. Try to answer the famous “W questions” (“who, what, where, when, which, and why?”). This will help you have a clear vision of the milestones you want to achieve, eventually leading you to accomplish your goal.
But how will you know when a milestone is reached? By making your goals measurable. When writing down your goals, think of questions like “How many?” and “How much?” when writing down your goals. That way, it’ll be easy to track progress.
While it’s okay to shoot for the stars sometimes, a SMART goal should be achievable. So first, try to break up bigger goals into smaller ones that are reachable with your current skill set. Then, as you go along your journey, you can gradually set more ambitious goals. That will help you remain motivated.
This letter should answer the “Why?” questions. Why are you setting this goal? How does it impact the bigger picture? Every goal should have a purpose and bring you a step closer to your end goal.
Your goals should have a set deadline. That will help you stay motivated by giving you a sense of urgency and helping you measure your goals. Select time frames you’re comfortable with, whether that means setting daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
If this topic sparks your interest, you can check out this article for a more in-depth analysis.
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are also often called employable skills because they are preferred in any work environment. Even the careers that seem like they don’t have a lot of interpersonal contact and teamwork still require some interpersonal skills. That is why many employers look for these skills and even reject candidates lacking in this area.
This skill set also affects your personal, everyday relationships. The more developed your interpersonal skills are, the easier it becomes to establish new relationships and maintain existing ones. Developing or honing them will undoubtedly make any type of relationship easier and, as an end result, improve your overall quality of life.
However, this endeavor isn’t easy. Depending on your skills right now, it may take some time. This is where SMART goals come in handy: They help you to start, follow, and keep track of your goals and overall improvement of interpersonal skills.
8 SMART Goal Examples for Interpersonal Skills
Let’s look at some examples of SMART goals for interpersonal skills. These can serve as inspiration for your SMART goals list. Plus, they can be modified to fit any environment or situation, like work, school, or personal relationships. (Check out these SMART goals examples for relationships.)
1. Become More Empathetic
“Over the next month, I will work on my being more empathetic by asking the people I am talking to if anything’s bothering them, listening to them carefully, and giving them honest advice as best as I can at least three times a week.”
S: The goal explicitly describes what the person plans to do to improve a particular part of their interpersonal skills.
M: Each encounter that fulfills the goal’s requirements can be counted as one of at least three needed per week over the next month.
A: This goal is achievable if you regularly talk to other people.
R: This goal is relevant to improving interpersonal skills since the person will become more empathetic and improve their relationships.
T: This goal will be completed in a month.
2. Improve Leadership Skills
“At least once a week in the following three months, I will initiate and organize an activity with my coworkers to improve my leadership skills and help the process of team building.”
S: This SMART goal tells us that the person wants to improve their leadership skills and become a better team worker by inviting and organizing events with their coworkers.
M: The once-a-week activity over the next three months is a unit of measurement for this goal.
A: This goal is achievable, taking only the time to initiate and organize the small events.
R: This is a relevant goal for interpersonal skills, focusing on two parts: leadership and teamwork.
T: The goal will be completed after three months.
3. Read a Book on Interpersonal Skills
“Over the next week, I will dedicate half an hour a day to reading a self-help book on interpersonal skills to identify my flaws in this area and find ways to improve them.”
S: This goal tells us which books the person will read to better evaluate their skills and improve them.
M: This goal is measured by the time the person will spend reading every day.
A: This is goal is achievable, taking only the time to read each day.
R: The goal is relevant and helpful for developing interpersonal skills.
T: The goal will be achieved in one week.
4. Improve Nonverbal Communication
“I will improve my nonverbal communication skills by paying close attention to the nonverbal cues of the person I am talking with for at least 10 minutes in the next three longer conversations I have.”
S: The goal explains how the person will improve their non-verbal communication skills.
M: The unit of measurement here is 10 minutes in the following three more extended conversations.
A: This goal is achievable and requires simply talking to others.
R: This goal is relevant to improving interpersonal skills since developing communication skills of any type is a significant step in the overall goal.
T: The is completed when the person observes 10 minutes of body language in three conversations.
5. Improve Listening Skills
“Over the next month, I will work on my listening skills and communication skills by asking follow-up questions related to the topic the person I’m speaking with is talking about at least every other day.”
S: The goal tells us that the person will actively engage in conversations by asking questions to improve their communication and listening skills.
M: The unit of measurement is each conversation where follow-up questions are asked.
A: The goal can be achieved by being more mindful of others when they talk.
R: The goal is very relevant and brings the person closer to improving their interpersonal skillset.
T: The goal ends in one month.
6. Listen to Podcasts on Conflict Resolution
“I will listen to podcasts about conflict resolution at least twice a week in the next two months to be better at peacefully resolving conflicts.”
S: The person will listen to a specific podcast to improve conflict resolution skills.
M: The unit of measurement is every podcast that the person listens to.
A: This goal can be accomplished by regularly finding and listening to a podcast.
R: This is a relevant goal because conflict resolution is critical in developing interpersonal skills.
T: The goal will be completed in two months.
7. Improve Conflict Resolution Skills
“To improve my conflict resolution skills, I will observe possible conflicts over the next month, write them down, and analyze how the conflict could have been resolved in a better way.”
S: This goal is specific since the person will write down real-life everyday conflicts and analyze them to better resolve different types of disputes.
M: The unit of measurement is every conflict that is observed, written down, and analyzed.
A: This is an achievable goal but requires the presence of mind to record information in the moment.
R: The goal is relevant compared to the bigger picture of improving interpersonal skills.
T: The goal ends in a month.
8. Initiate Conversations with Strangers
“During the next two months, I will initiate conversations with strangers at least once a week to be more comfortable starting and leading discussions and improve my overall conversational skills.”
S: This goal specifies the particular action of talking to strangers to improve the person’s conversation skills.
M: The goal can be measured with every conversation initiated with a stranger.
A: The goal is achievable but requires confidence.
R: It is relevant when it comes to interpersonal skills since communication skills are a significant component of this skill set.
T: The goal will be completed in two months.
Final Thought on SMART Goals for Improving Your Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills affect just about every part of your everyday life in one way or another. That’s why it’s essential to work on these skills, even if you think that you’re an expert. The SMART goals examples for interpersonal skills that we’ve listed can give you an excellent model for making this journey easier. With careful planning and follow-through, you’ll find yourself reaching your end goal even faster than you expected.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 6 SMART Goals Examples for Nonprofit Organizations
- 5 SMART Goals Examples for Dental Hygienists
- 12 SMART Goals Examples for Engineers
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.