Create SMART Goals for Your Toastmasters Journey

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  • Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? 
  • Do you remember New Year’s resolutions friends and acquaintances have made? 
  • Can you recall some that were not even attempted? 

    July 1 is the beginning of the new Toastmasters’ year.

    On an individual level, this means you have the opportunity to choose new goals for your Toastmaster experience.

    Articulate and achieve your goals.

    Create a vision and goals relevant to your priorities.

    If it is not important to you, you aren’t going to spend time on it, so make sure that your goals are relevant.

    Then be SMART about your goals.

    Goals should be specific.
    “Become a more confident speaker.”

    That’s specific, right? But how will you know you’ve achieved it? Can you remember exactly how scared or uncomfortable you were giving that speech you gave four months ago? Probably not.

    This is a vision more than a goal, even though it may seem specific.

    “Become a more confident speaker by giving speeches” is a goal. It also specifies how you will become a more confident speaker, so it is moving in the right direction.

    Goals should be measurable.
    “Become a more confident speaker by giving ten in-club speeches and speaking at least twice outside of club.”

    That is a measurable goal. It says that you will have met this goal when you have given ten in-club speeches and speaking outside of club twice.

    Can you track that? Can you tell when that goal is met? Yes.

    Goals should be attainable.
    “Become a more confident speaker by by giving ten in-club speeches and speaking at least twice outside of club, with the President of the United States in the audience.”

    While that is a specific goal and it is measurable, it is unlikely to be attainable for most of us. I am sure there are some Toastmasters who have the president’s ear, but if this were my goal for the new year, it would not be attainable.

    On the other hand, “Become a more confident speaker by giving ten in-club speeches and speaking at least twice outside of club” is an attainable goal, for someone who regularly attends Toastmasters and pursues outside opportunities.

    Many other kinds of organizations have speakers at their regular meetings. Contact those organizations about the possibilities if you want to speak outside of your club.

    • One member of my club spoke to a college class, giving the speech she had created for the most recent speech contest. The professor was in Toastmasters and the students were going to be writing a paper giving an abstract word and defining it and then discussing what that definition meant. Since that was exactly what the contest speech did, it was an excellent “real life” example of the assignment.
    • I was asked by one of the local Rotary Clubs to speak about my work. I created a unique speech for that opportunity and a fellow Toastmaster evaluated my speech.
    • Another member of my club spoke to the local entrepreneurs’ group, after having spoken to many of them individually and being invited to address the club as a whole.

    Goals should be realistic.
    Choose goals you are both willing and able to work towards.

    “Become a more confident speaker by by giving ten in-club speeches and speaking at least twice outside of club” might be a realistic goal for you.

    If you are already a confident speaker and are also engaged with your community, a realistic goal might be “Become a more professional speaker by giving ten in-club speeches and speaking at least once a month at community events.”

    If you are so lacking confidence that your hands shake, your knees buckle, and you mumble, “Become a more confident speaker by practicing ten speeches on family and friends before presenting them in club” might be a more realistic goal for you.

    Goals should be time-limited.
    Choose goals that have a built-in deadline.

    “Become a more confident speaker by giving ten in-club speeches at speaking at least twice outside of club by June 1, 2018.”

    That is a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-limited goal. But it may not be the goal that fits your priorities.

    Goals should be SMART.
    My goal this year is “Develop leadership skills by serving as the 2017-2018 Area 33 Director, visiting my clubs, supporting the members through multiple communication channels, submitting Club Visit Reports, attending as many meetings as possible, and finding contest chairs and facilitating  their service.”

    It is specific.

    • Area 33 Director.

    It is measurable.

    • Did I visit clubs? 
    • Did I text members? call them? email them? write them cards?
    • Did I turn in reports? 
    • Did I attend meetings? 
    • Did I find contest chairs? Did I help them to run a successful contest? 
    It is attainable.
    • District Director Greg Pick offered me the position of Area 33 Director and I accepted it.
    • I have five clubs I will need to visit in the Fort Worth area, but I will be able to do that during the school breaks. 
    It is realistic.
    • Last year, I served as the Division Director for Division A, so I know what is required of Area Directors both in terms of attending meetings and in visiting clubs and submitting paperwork. 
    It is time-limited. 
    • 2017-2018 Area 33 Director means I will serve from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2018. 

    If our goals are SMART, we will be more likely to achieve them. That makes us smart, too, doesn’t it?

    Happy Toastmasters’ New Year!