What Are Objectives?

Objectives are measurable. How many times have you been asked to 'create awareness' of something? Vague instructions to 'create awareness' cannot be measured, nor will you be able to prove the value of what you have done, so start by making your objectives SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound.

If you are struggling to design a 'SMART' objective then think about the key parts of a story intro - who, what, when, where, why and how. Make sure your objective includes who you are going to be talking to or engaging with, what you are going to be doing, when you'll do it, where, the reason why (this relates back to your outcome) and then the how, which is the stepping stone to your strategic implementation. SMART objectives should be set for all internal communications programmes too.

If you have set your outcomes correctly, then the 'create awareness' phrase should be eliminated from your objectives. Instead you will find - depending on the outcome type - you will be measuring improvements in understanding, knowledge, advocacy, engagement, dialogue or participation. If you stop and think about how you might measure 'awareness', it gets very vague. If you think about the outcomes, they are all to do with changes and shifts and will prompt an action on the part of the stakeholder or community you are engaging with.