CJA / 304 Interpersonal Communication
May 8, 2013
Michael O’Connell, JD
Effective communication is essential in any workplace, especially within a criminal justice organization. In this paper, the author will discuss the process of verbal and nonverbal communication and the associated components of each, the differences between listening and hearing in communication, the formal and informal channels of communication in criminal justice organizations and the strategies that may be implemented to overcome communication barriers therein. Types of Communication and the Process Involved
Communication is defined as “a process involving several steps, among two or more persons, for the primary purpose of exchanging information.” (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). This process can involve two types of communication: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal
Verbal communication includes transmitting information orally. This type of communication can involve sharing information or exchanging ideas between two people or a group. Speaking is just one aspect of verbal communication. Verbal communication does not solely involve the sender transmitting the message to the receiver. Verbal communication also involves listening from the receiver and giving feedback to the sender as a confirmation that the message was understood. In a criminal justice organization, “oral communication skills are necessary to talk with members of the general public, request assistance from other officers, advise suspects of their Miranda rights, and inform supervisors that certain actions have occurred.” (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). Being an officer requires a lot of verbal communication to fulfill some of the essential duties of working in law enforcement. Nonverbal
Nonverbal communication includes written communication via reports, memorandums, notes from meetings, notes taken from accounts between officers and witnesses, victims, suspects, etc. Nonverbal can also include facial expressions. Facial expressions and body language oftentimes are used to convey emotions when words are absent. The Process of Communication
The process of communication involves transmitting an idea, sending the idea through a medium (verbal/nonverbal), receiving the message, understanding the idea, and providing feedback to the message sender. The first step of transmitting an idea “implies the formation of one or several thoughts and the desire to express these ideas”. (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). The next step involves choosing a method of communicating that idea. This can be done through verbal or nonverbal communication. Despite what method is used, it is imperative to know who the audience is and decide what tone the message is to be delivered. The tone, especially with oral communication, can make a world of a difference in how the receiver interprets the message. When the receiver then receives the message, his interpretation may not be how the message was originally intended to be received. The understanding of the idea or message relies strongly on interpretation of the person receiving the message. The process is then completed when the receiver provides feedback to the message sender by clarifying what he or she understood and then agreeing or disagreeing with the message itself. All these steps are part of the communication process, if one step fails then the communication becomes ineffective and invaluable.
Listening vs. Hearing
According to the American Heritage College Dictionary, the word hearing is defined as “the sense by which sound is perceived; the capacity to hear” (2009). Hearing can include the capacity to hear the audio of the message being received and the words being enunciated, but it cannot ensure whether the message was indeed understood. Hearing is only one part of the communication process. The ability to comprehend by actually listening to what is being said,...