Effective Communication Paper
December 17, 2014
There are a lot of ways to effectively communicate no matter what situation you may be in. In this paper we will discuss the process of verbal and nonverbal communication and the components associated to each one of these. The differences between listening and hearing will also be touched upon. The formal and informal channels of communication in Criminal justice organizations. We will also look into the different barriers to effective communication in criminal justice organizations. Strategies that may be implemented to overcome communication barriers in criminal justice organizations.
Communication is “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to Express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone Else.” ("Merriam-Webster", 2015). Communication in any criminal justice setting involves both verbal and non-verbal communication, whether it be inside the organization itself or outside in the community. In order for a law enforcement agency to function properly both forms of communication are critical.
Verbal communication is all about the spoken word, whether it be face-to-face, over a telephone, via a radio or any other social media outlets. Officers must be able to communicate with their fellow officers and superiors, and also the people in their community. There are two main components to ensure proper verbal communication, that being the content of the message and word usage. When an officer is communicating with a victim, suspect, or any other person for that matter they need to ensure that they are communicating on the level of that person. This ensures that the officer is completely understood.
Non-verbal communication includes written communication as well as body language, your gestures, how you act and dress and even your scent. Police reports are a great example of non-verbal communication, this is what prosecutors will use to issue a criminal complaint. When an officer is called to testify in court they will often re-read these reports to refresh their memory because the majority of court dates are months down the road. Probation officers will use these reports when deciding what punishment they should give that person. When it comes to body language this can tell an officer a lot about the person that they are talking to. If the person seems nervous about what the officer is asking they might be lying or trying to hide something. This will allow the officer to ask further questions to find out the truth. With that said, verbal and non- verbal communication is very important in the law enforcement industry and should never be taken lightly.
There are many differences when it comes to listening and hearing in communication. The communication process starts with hearing, your ears pick up the sound waves and transmit them to your brain. Therefore listening comes after hearing and in order to be skilled enough it must be an active process. The person hearing the message will evaluate what they have heard and then they will respond to the sender in whatever way they see fit. There are several barriers to effective listening however. If a topic is boring or uninteresting to the listener they may not pay attention to the sender. If an officer is excited or stressed, this may interfere with the information process. Distractions can also make listening hard, this could include prior conversations or the environment that you are in. When a person is listening they have to make sure they are concentrating on what is being said, they should also utilize feedback and ask questions to make sure that they completely understand the message that is being portrayed. In most cases messages are passed down from the top person in command of any large organization.
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