February 6, 2012
Communication is a daily necessity that helps us understand the world around us. Without the use of communication, it would be difficult to understand one another and to live. In order to have knowledge of and completely comprehend what communication is, it is vital to look at the different tools or concepts that make up communication. This paper will discuss the process of verbal and nonverbal communication while describing the associated components of each. To be an effective communicator, one must learn how to and be able to know the difference between listening and hearing. Further, formal and informal channels of communication within the criminal justice organizations will be examined, along with different barriers to effective communication. Finally, strategies that may be implemented to overcome communication barriers in the criminal justice organization will be explored. All these components are essential to learn, understand, and be an effective communicator in the criminal justice organization.
According to Merriam Webster, communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior” (Mathewson, 2009). This can be broken down into verbal and nonverbal communication. To help us understand verbal and nonverbal communication, each of these types has components which help us break down the meaning of communication. Within verbal communication, “Researchers are unable to reach a consensus on the exact number of styles; however, most are willing to concede that they cluster around four dimensions: blaming, directing, persuading, and problem solving” (Mathewson, 2009). Verbal communication can be easily understood because it is simply the use of words. It is the way words are communicated through verbal speech and how we choose to express and convey our message.
“Communication encompasses more than what comes out of the mouth or into the ear. It includes hand, arm, and leg movements; facial expressions; voice tones; and other body gestures. Such nonverbal behavior can send a different meaning or message than the spoken word” (Ford, 2006). This constitutes as nonverbal communication, which is also understood through written word and/or body language. “Criminal justice professionals must be able to write clearly and coherently. Excerpts from reports are often introduced into court proceedings, and superiors review them as part of the investigative process” (Matheson, 2009).
This kind of communication can be of greater importance than verbal. By watching and listening for these nonverbal communication components, people can see different things such as picking up signs of stress or lying. “People tend to lean away if they are in fear or apprehensive about something, while others may cross their arms and have slight grimaces. In many cases when a person lies, they will unconsciously look away from the individual whom they are addressing” (Mathewson, 2009). These signs can help the criminal justice organization immensely if they know how to read nonverbal communication. This will prove to be beneficial in an interview and or during investigation and court proceedings. “Also, with advancing technology, venues of communication have dramatically changed; agencies now commonly employ e-mails, memorandums, text messages, newsletters, and blogs” (Ford, 2006). These types of communication need to be evaluated correctly to be used appropriately in a situation. Furthermore, these forms of communication have become useful and convenient for the criminal justice professionals to stay current with the events and up to date with all the events.
“Everyone wants to be heard and understood, but at one time or another most people don't listen and fail to understand the meaning of another person's words. It's a fundamental human need to...