Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Topics: Communication, Nonverbal communication, Writing Pages: 5 (1820 words) Published: July 18, 2012
Law enforcement officers must understand how the media works in order to communicate with them effectively. The media has a job to complete just as police officers do. The media’s role is to inform the public of news and events that are going on around them. Even though law enforcement officers communicate publicly with friends and coworkers all the time, it is different from being interviewed by a television anchor. At some point in their career, most police officers will have to give presentations to the public. Whether the speech is formal or informal, most police officers experience stage fright just like anyone else (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). Some people will naturally be better at public speaking than others. However, after mastering a few techniques, anyone can give a good enough speech. Public speaking is just talking to more than one person at a time. Police officers talk to people all the time, but in a group setting, feedback can be delayed or not received. Physical barriers can also affect communication in public speaking. The microphone may not be loud enough so that everyone can hear. The police officer can also be very nervous as to not make a mistake while giving the presentation. Police officers should look professional when giving a speech to the public. The first impression on an audience is based on the way a person looks. If a police officer’s appearance is not professional, he will lose credibility before he even begins the speech. When speaking, the officer should stand tall and speak with confidence. He or she should project the voice and avoid showing signs of nervousness. Facial expressions should be friendly and appear to be showing interest in the topic so that the audience can reciprocate. Maintaining eye contact will help the police officer communicate more efficiently as well. The pace of the speech should vary, and the officer should avoid speaking with a monotone. Ensuring that the speech contains correct pronunciation of words and proper grammar will make it easier for the public to understand. The officer should also explain any difficult words (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). Making public announcements to the press can be a little overwhelming for police officers with all the microphones that are being thrown into the officer’s face by all of the news reporters. The police officer must remember to remain calm. Being prepared and knowledgeable of the subject can be helpful. When testifying in court, many times officers become frustrated as a result of not being prepared. Officers can end up labeling the wrong person as the suspect, forget to mention important details, and make a host of other mistakes that could have been avoided. If on a police report the officer misspells a word, his credibility could be questioned in court. If the police report contains even one error, it can present the question of how many other errors could be on the report. Editing is an important part of written communication. Besides using spell check, editing should be used to make the document better. Eliminating redundant phrases and qualifying adverbs are ways to shorten the document (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). Once an arrest is made, the court appearance is the final step in the criminal justice process for the police officer. In court, the officer’s communication skills will be put to the test. Good police officers take time to prepare for their appearance in court whether it is for a minor traffic violation or a homicide. Preparing for court can deem the officer credible. This means reviewing the police report beforehand, remembering the scene, and using correct pronunciation of words. Whether the officer decides to appear in court in uniform or civilian clothing, he or she should look professional. This also adds to the officer’s credibility. Flashy clothing and/or jewelry can take attention away from what the officer is saying which can cause someone to miss critical information of the officer’s testimony...
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