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Archive for April, 2012


SMART Goals Mean Business

Goals are necessary to achieve the results you want and to succeed. They:

  • Help you see and measure your progress toward achieving what you want.
  • Provide motivation and stimulus to keep going over the hard parts.
  • Encourage the development of self-confidence that comes from achieving what you want in your work and life.
  • Give you structure and a reason for doing certain things or not doing them.
  • Provide criteria against which you can make decisions.

The most effective goals are SMART:

  • Specific. Clearly spell out steps that contribute most to the performance of that goal.
  • Measurable. Establish criteria by which you can evaluate the goal and determine when you have achieved it.
  • Adaptable. Goals must be flexible and respond to personal, professional, business and environmental changes.
  • Realistic. Blue sky, but keep both feet on the ground. Set goals that stretch and grow your abilities, but are not so difficult that you become discouraged.
  • Timely. Put a deadline on each goal.

Are your goals SMART? If not, take some time and revise them, so they meet the SMART criteria. The SMARTer a goal, the more likely you will reach it.


Speak Up and Be Heard

Think about misunderstandings you have had in the past. They probably came from poor communication or miscommunication. You need good communication skills to have productive, rewarding workplace relationships.

No one is a good communicator all the time; skill depends on the situation and personal factors, such as your upbringing, education, and self-confidence, among other factors. Here are some tools to help you hone your communication skills:

  • Practice what you will say before you say it.
  • Try different ways of saying things with friends you trust.
  • Ask for feedback from people who have strong communication skills.
  • Take classes, read books and listen to tapes.
  • Study people whose communication style you admire.
  • Read. You would be surprised at how much you can improve your communication skills by reading well-written books and articles.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw


The Eyes Have It

Eye contact can be tricky. Looking directly into someone’s eyes can be seen as hostile and even rude in some cultures. However, avoiding contact indicates sneakiness and the need to avoid disclosure. The solution is “soft eye contact.” Look at the person’s cheek, forehead, nose, chin or mouth. They think that you are looking directly at them even though you are avoiding direct eye contact.

When addressing a group, regularly look around the room and make eye contact with someone for a few moments, then move on. Use short, frequent glances, but do not stare. Each person will think you are paying attention to him or her, and you will seem to be in control of the room.


Enhance Your Performance at Work

Do people see you as a professional whom they can rely on to get things done? Here are some good work habits you can cultivate to enhance your professionalism at work.

  • Plan your time to ensure that tasks are completed on deadline.
  • Respond to stressful situations with grace and calm control.
  • Maintain your enthusiasm and commitment to a task until it is completed.
  • Handle boring tasks with the same care that you handle interesting ones.
  • Focus on your highest priorities each day.
  • Keep your workspace orderly and well organized.
  • Be on time for meetings and appointments.
  • Keep written documents neat and free of errors.

Do you see any habit that needs improvement? Set a goal to work on it!