Barriers to Effective Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

As we all know, Criminal Justice has two main types of communication which are Verbal and Nonverbal. Each of these are subsets or components in the communication area. These components help us to breakdown ideas of communication for a better understanding. For the verbal communication, there is a cluster with four different areas which include: Blaming, Directing, Persuading and Problem Solving. Along with these components for the verbal, there are also two main things for nonverbal communication which include: Body language and Written word communications.

When we are in a conversation with someone, verbally speaking is not the only thing that comes with communicating well. There is also the fact that you must be a good listener as well so you can understand what the other person is communicating. According to Grubb, Hemby, “Generally there are three purposes associated with either casual conversation or public speaking: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain” (Matthewson, 2009). You need to be focused and pay attention to detail when someone is attempting to inform you on critical information.

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To build better communication and a better understanding of what someone is saying, try repeating or saying everything you just heard. It will help you to remember more of the important issues that were brought up in the conversation.

For effective communication, you want to make sure that you are to the point of what you are talking about and avoid going off topic. This is make sure that you are able to clarify what the other person is saying and it will help any kind of confusion that may occur.

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You may also run into someone who does not speak English or speaks it very well. With this, you need to make sure that you are clear and precise on the topic and have an interpreter just in case they need help understanding. In the Criminal Justice field, many officers, lawyers, probation and parole officers face this challenge on a day to day basis. For having different types of languages around us at all times, we must be prepared for anything that can happen in the communication aspect. Cultural differences can and do affect verbal and nonverbal communication.

When you are using nonverbal communication, you must watch how you use your body language such as your hands, eyes, leg movement, and the folding of your arms. Using each of these in a certain manner can show the other person that you are uncomfortable, that you are not really listening to what they have to say and or you don’t care about what they are talking about. These can also show some signs of lying and stress if you are not careful. Law Enforcement uses these signs when they are interviewing and interrogating suspects. Giving direct eye contact but yet your body language says something else can be misunderstood as hiding something.

There are many different variables dealing with communication as well. When we have a conversation, we should always make sure that we do not miscommunicate information and the way we can do this, is by being more alert and understanding the different methods of communication. In the 7th paragraph in his article, Grubb says “KISS is an extremely effective acronym. “ Keep it Short and Simple” is not an indicator of lack of intelligence or professionalism but rather an efficient way to communicate. Some police officers, through a sense of misplaced importance, feel compelled to use language that is inappropriate for the situation- inappropriate in the sense that it does not fit well in the context of the conversation or in the message that the officer is attempting to convey” (Matthewson, 2009).

When writing a report which is considered nonverbal communication, you want to make sure you are using as much detail as possible but making sure at the same time, you are not going overboard to where it drowns out the report. You want to make sure that you have enough information and enough details that it explains what you witnessed or what happened. There have been cases where less description is also good in a report as well. Along with writing reports, when you are in the Criminal Justice field, you want to make sure that when you are emailing, you are concise and yet brief. By explaining too much in your reports, this can in fact potentially be thrown out of court by a judge.

Communication Frustration plays a role in the Criminal Justice field by people misunderstanding what they are reading and what they are hearing. This can mean life and death in criminal justice organizations. If all the officers are getting briefed on a case where they have to apprehend a suspect, it takes one officer not paying attention and it could very easily cost him or her their lives. Understanding and communicating well are very important thing to master in any type of law enforcement agency. There are advantages and disadvantages with communications dealing with formal and informal.

Having the formal communication, allows uniformity within the organization, having informal communication allows free flow of information, but tends to restrict uniformity. Another thing that goes along with having a hard time listening, is the fact that there can be outside stress like family issues, financial problems. There can also be external issues with listening such as being biased about the subject that is being talked about, the subject being boring etc. Having active listening and great feedback will help in good communication as well.

There are three different barriers that are in effective communication. The first one is Individual Practitioner Barriers. This affects more of the community based correctional staff. With it affecting this area, some may lack basic knowledge, abilities and skills to do their jobs correctly and efficiently. Some that have lack of all three of these things, have never participated in the training that is required by that specific job. The second is the Organizational Barriers. This kind of barrier deals with barriers that are in their organization be it the police department, court houses, attorney’s offices etc. This also limits the full implementation of evidence based information and the correctional practices. When dealing with correctional practices, you need to have all the knowledge to do your job correctly and without many or no faults. The third is Systemic Barriers. With this barrier, it deals within the criminal justice and the social service systems. This can cause competition between the different agencies due to shortages in funding, difficulties in sustaining collaborations and the lack of support from the court system.

Clients may be pushed away due to the community practitioners not having the power to control what happens in the system. My real world example of effective communication is the time I was living with my aunt back in Bryan, Ohio. She and her ex were seeing each other at this time. He was always coming over to our apartment spending time with her, cooking, cleaning, and helping with everything that he could think of. Everything was going wonderful for a long time. Communication was at its best between all of us. Then one day, he had been drinking and I was very ill lying in bed. I heard a lot of yelling and screaming from my aunt telling him to get out and him yelling back telling her to shut up. I heard some slamming around out in the living room so I got out of bed, extremely dizzy to see what was going on. I walked out and they were each on one side of the TV holding on to it. Well I stepped in and told him to get out of the apartment. She was in no shape for any stress and I was so sick I just about couldn’t stand up straight. After I told him that, he took the TV and pulled it off the stand hitting me and my aunt in the back with it.

Almost pinning me in between the glass coffee table and the TV. If I wouldn’t have moved when I did, I would have been severely cut. Needless to say, I got on the phone call the police and my aunt and I filed a police report. Later that day, her and I were pulling out of the apartment complex when we saw his van across the street. As soon as he seen us, he flew across into the apartment drive almost hitting her car. As she was backing up to the office, I was on the phone to the police once again. His van was so close to her bumper, u couldn’t put a piece of paper between them. If it was not for me being in that car, he said he would have killed her. No matter what situation or scenario you are in, communication is the main thing you need to have. If you do not have effective communication, then anything can happen. People can get off murder charges, rape charges, any type of abuse charges. As we all know, Criminal Justice has two main types of communication which are Verbal and Nonverbal. Each of these have subsets or components.

Henderson, M. L., Mathias-Humphrey, A., & McDermott, M. J. (2008). Barriers to Effective Program Implementation: Rural School-Based Probation (Vol. 72). Seattle, Washington, United States: Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from Matthewson, J. (2009). Effective Communication in Criminal Justice: Process, components and various types., 2. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from Wallace, H. &. (2009, January 15). Criminal Justice Law Exploring Issues, Developing Solutions. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from Criminal Justice Law:

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Barriers to Effective Verbal and Nonverbal Communication. (2016, Feb 28). Retrieved from

Barriers to Effective Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
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