Barriers to Effective Communication
March 1, 2012
University Of Phoenix
The importance of communication in all professions is often under-estimated. In the criminal justice field there is no excuse for misconception and one mistake could affect multiple parties. This paper will outline the barriers in effective communication, how they affect the criminal justice field and more importantly how to overcome such barriers. We will explore the process of communication, it’s components, informal and formal forms of communication and then the difference between listening and hearing.
Communication often times involves two people; a sender and a receiver. With law enforcement this can involve interpersonal communication between a citizen and an officer or between a detective and an officer; or it can be group communication in which parties of three of more are involved in communicating amongst each other. The communication process involves five of the following steps: Transmitting an idea, sending the idea through a medium, the receiver acquiring the message and decoding it, Understanding the message through decoding and then the last step providing feedback to the sender. However many parties are present, communication exists of three main components: Verbal, Paraverbal and nonverbal messages. (Wallace, 2009) With the use of the communication process and the following three components we can clearly begin to understand the message of the sender.
Verbal communication is the act of speaking or writing and the select word choice we use to get a message to the receiver. The general message one intends to get across such as a simple order from a higher level officer will reach the receiver and they begin to decode the message. Depending on the word choice, it can either lead to misconception or be fully understood for its intentions. For example the sender may say something equivalent to “Did you not read the crime report this morning?” and the sender may decode this as the officer saying he failed to do his job simply due to the use of the word not. Now this may have been what the officer was saying but maybe it was not, perhaps he was saying it in a joking matter, that’s why we must look into more components. Paraverbal communication is the choice of words we choose mixed with the way in which we decide to use them or using them within a message. Literally two people could say the same exact sentence and each can add tone or infliction of the voice and it mean two different things. Going back to the original statement above, if the officer puts more tone around the word “not” than he is emphasizing the word and he is most likely using some sort of sarcasm. Next we can look at this sentence mixed with the last component: Nonverbal communication, in which no words are used but instead body language to express the idea or message. If the officer is indeed trying to be sarcastic with the above message he may use a simple hand gesture or raise his eyebrows or even draw a smirk upon his face. These are all signs that the officer is being rude or sarcastic toward the other officer. However that simple sentence when evaluating or changing the different components can be decoded differently. That’s why we must evaluate each component then apply it to the message when we are the decoder. Taking all this in and understanding the components will help lead to a more professional decoding of messages.
Informal Vs. Formal
Weather communication is oral or written there are two basic communication channels: Formal and Informal. Formal communication is usually one in which an organization follows a chain of command such as formal orders, directives and written memorandums. (Wallace, 2009) While formal communication is crucial to the flow of communication within a police organization it also has disadvantages. While it often times supports nurturing of the...
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