Effective is communication to help us better understand people and situations. It helps us resolve differences, respect and trust others, show affection and help create ideas. Communication often seems simple but in some situations and conversations some things get misunderstood. The misunderstanding can be caused by verbal and nonverbal communication. This sometimes causes friction and conflict in personal and professional relationships. By understanding effective communication skills, you can better connect with your spouse, kids, friends, and coworkers.
Two types of communication is verbal and nonverbal.
When people talk about things the care about, they normally use nonverbal communication. Body language and gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and how a person reacts to another person are all examples of nonverbal communication. Understanding and the use of nonverbal communication can help connect with other clearing, express how you really feel and build a better relationship at work and home. Verbal communication is the main way of communicating. Some of the key components are words, sound, speaking and language.
While using verbal communication in a conversation or discussion there is a person who is listening. There is a big difference between listening to someone and hearing someone. Hearing is the ability to hear a sound by detecting vibration in sound using your ear. Listening is when a person actively listens and pays attention to the speaker and can provide feedback. For example you can hear someone speaking but are not listening and cannot provide feedback. Formal channels of communication are within the “chain of command” in the criminal justice field.
The chain of command gives directions using the formal channels of upward, downward, and horizontal communication through the levels of command. (Sinclair, 2010) The organization’s order forms procedures related to communication within the levels of command. The hierarchy sets the structure and atmosphere through written policies and procedures. Informal channels of communication includes a real popular form which is called the “grapevine”.
Employees at any level in the criminal justice field have a habit of sharing information either overheard or received with coworkers. The ineffectiveness with this channel is that sometime the information isn’t repeated correctly after it was received. The information is usually changed and different to the original information. Informal communication can work effectively as well. Using this type of communication in the workplace can build bonds and kinship amongst employees. One major barrier to effective communication includes semantics, that is, the understanding each person affected by the communication has of certain words and phrases.
In every profession there are terms and expressions that hold meaning; the criminal justice organization is no different. Whereas certain words and phrases hold meaning for the mass of officers, those same words and phrases may hold a different meaning for others. This can cause problems when speaking with the public or even within the organization if words are not carefully chosen (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). Another barrier to communication involves the ability to listen. For example an adult in a seminar with a boring speaker can lead to make listening difficult.
Even when a person knows that the speaker has important information to present, if the speaker is dull or uninteresting, then listening becomes a major task. Active listening and feedback are two of the best strategies for overcoming the difficulties in communicating. Developing active listening skills, a person can understand better what is being said and through feedback a person can determine if it was communicated correctly. Never before has the need for law enforcement officers to develop good listening skills coupled with strategies for understanding been greater.
The boom period of the 1990s when prison populations exploded and Parole and Probation programs were downsized is over and many offenders are returning to the streets without strict oversight programs. This has created a void in social structures related to these former offenders and that void is increasingly being placed on the shoulders of street-level law enforcement officers (Smith, 2003). Hence, there is a greater need for these officers to develop skills not needed in the past.
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