SMART Communication Objectives

By Cheril Lee

Work SMARTer not harder
How to be SMART with your communication objectives
Your key to success: SMART communication objectives (computer generated)

When planning any communication strategy, remember to be SMART by setting objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

The very first thing you need to do before you can dive into the SMART system is to identify your overarching goal and objectives.

Got it? Great. Now it’s time to get SMART!!

Let’s break down the SMART system into five easy pieces:

  1. Specific – In order to achieve any sort of result, you are going to have to be specific about your objectives. What are you trying to accomplish?
  2. Measurable – What numbers can be used to indicate your media efforts are successful? In other words, how will you track your efforts to ensure you reach your objectives?
  3. Attainable – Are the objectives you’ve identified realistic and achievable?
  4. Relevant – Are your objectives relevant to your business
  5. Timely – Can you complete them in a reasonable amount of time?

Example #1 – Changing a vague objective into a SMART objective:

Vague: I want to spend 3 hours every day working on my most important tasks.

Clear: I will work on our upcoming fundraising campaign from 9:30 – 12:30 every day this week without interruption.

This is effective because your timeline and expectations are clear. You know exactly what you will do, when and why.

Example #2 – Changing a non-SMART objective into a SMART objective:

Non-SMART objective: 90% of kids participating will join the lessons on assertive communication skills.

Why it’s not-SMART: This objective is not SMART because it is not specific or timely.

SMART objective: By the end of the school year, district health educators will have shared lessons on assertive communication skills with 90% of middle school kids participating in their curriculum.

Why it’s SMART: The new verbiage indicates who will do the work, what they will do, by when, and who will participate in lessons on assertive communication skills.

Example #3 – Unclear objective versus a clear SMART objective: 
Vague: I want to grow my social media presence.
Clear: I will get 500 new Facebook fans, 1,000 new Twitter followers and 100 new Instagram followers using strategic social media posts by the end of the quarter.

Here are a few examples of professional SMART objectives from

  • Present at two or more internal employee events per quarter to improve confidence and presenting skills.
  • Review and reduce the number of meetings on my calendar by 50% in order to enable more time for strategic planning by the end of the month.
  • Grow my network by having at least one lunch each week on average this quarter with an external professional relationship.

Get your SMART start now!

Create your objective and then copy or print off our SMART start quick questions below:

  • Specific – Who? What?
  • Measurable – How?
  • Attainable – Realistic?
  • Relevant – What is the expected result?
  • Timely – When?

The right planning approach can drive a successful public relations strategy, connect with your audience on a deeper level, and inspire the public to act.

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