Communication is the exchange of information between two or more people. The involved parties send, receive, and give feedback on the information being exchanged. The information be shared verbally and/or nonverbally. Communication is an ongoing process but if the message is unclear or the receiver of the message fails to fully understand, the communication is incomplete. The communication techniques that are used in day to day life are verbal, nonverbal, listening, and questioning. When employed properly, these methods can effectively transmit information between parties.
Basic Processes, Functions, and Components of Effective Communication
There are eight techniques that can be utilized when one is speaking in regards to effective communication. The eight techniques are volume, rate, dialect, pronunciation, articulation, force, inflection, and pause. Volume is the loudness or softness of one’s voice. When speaking, the volume of a person’s voice can say just as much as the content of their message. It also determines who is able to receive that message. Talking too soft can be useful when one only wants to pass information to a specific audience. In a setting where the message needs to be transmitted to a mass of people or people at great distance, a loud voice is what is necessary.
Rate is the speed at which a person speaks the message. Speaking too slow can have negative effects on one’s audience. It causes people to lose interest because the information is not being delivered fast enough. Speaking too fast can cause an audience to lose track of the information being presented. Finding the right speed to deliver a message is key. Speaking slower on the complex portions and faster when the information is basic is a good practice. Dialects are regional or ethnic based speech patterns. They tend to affect the way people talk in different parts of a country or the world.
Dialect cannot be helped in certain situations. They are a result of where one grew up and can stay with people as long as they live. It can cause some miscommunication if a speaker is unprepared but can also have positive effects on the audience. Pronunciation is the recognized standard of the sound of a word. Bad habits can be formed if a word or phrase is mispronounced enough times. This can give the audience the impression that the speaker is unintelligent, which results in the message not being communicated. Articulation is the conveyance of the sounds in speech.
Not articulating properly is normally called “mumbling” and can sound sloppy to an audience. Articulation is important when conveying a message and how the message is received. Emphasizing is the force applied to the correct word or syllable. Placing an emphasis on different words or syllables can show importance and change the meaning behind them. Using force in speech would be like bolding, underlining, or capitalizing in the written word. Inflection is the variations in the tone of a speaker’s voice. Inflection can reveal a lot in one’s message like if is a question or a statement. It can also show sincerity or sarcastic in one’s message. Pauses are effective periods of silence. It can signal the end of thought or lend a dramatic influence to a statement. Pauses are often replaced by pet words that are less than effective when trying to convey important material.
Communication is complemented by nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication can stand on its own two legs as well. When saying the phrase “shooing someone away”, most people will picture a hand sweeping someone away. That is an example of effective communication without using the mouth. The posture of a person can be serious, as it reveals a lot about a speaker or an audience. Slouching is unenthusiastic and can show an audience that the speaker is there because they were told to be or that the audience does not care about the information being presented. Posture should be natural and comfortable without being lazy. Movement can entice the audience, causing them to pay attention.
Too much movement can take away from a conversation if the movement is jerky or unnatural. Gestures go along with movement with a focus of the motions of a speaker’s hands and/or arms. Again, they should be moving naturally and should not draw too much attention or distract from the message. Facial expressions can be a dead giveaway to the speaker’s intentions or feelings. They can say that the speaker is nervous or unprepared if expressionless. They can also expose contractions to one’s message and true inner thoughts, meaning that people can tell if they are being lied to. The use of the eye contact can be uncomfortable for some but also means that one engaged and focused.
Potential Barriers to Effective Communication and How to Avoid Them
Effective communication can have potential barriers that can defeat the purpose of the communication in the first place. Cultural barriers are the difference in reference and dialect contrast. Make sure to consider the cultural makeup of the intended audience. Research the makeup and avoid any potential negative zones of communication. Linguistic barriers are the differences in verbal and nonverbal communication. Dig back into the research of cultural makeups and avoid gestures that could be considered offensive. Also, avoid slang and figures of speech as they are specific to the speaker’s culture.
Bias is something that is formed by encounters and passed on by mentors and/ family. To diminish biases, the speaker has to acknowledge any biases they might have. Once identified, it is a matter of a point of view so reverse it and look at it from the other end. Assumptions can lead an audience down unintended paths on the basis of false information. Rely on facts as the foundation of any message. Refuse to present or discuss anything not substantiated on well established, factual information.
Different Verbal and Nonverbal Forms of Communication Used in Security Organizations
Security organizations are reliant on both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication. Verbal communications can be by phone, two-way radio, by video, and or face to face. It is imperative to speak clear and concise as time could be a factor. Information shared should be precise, without bias or assumption. Nonverbal communication could be stance, signal, outward appearance, and/or eye contact. The slightest nonverbal que could be a sign of trouble or danger and needs to recognized instantly by the security staff. It is essential to have communication strategies for various situations, and the security professionals need to know and understand them all. Communication needs to flow seamlessly in every situation despite the circumstances.
Limitations and Exceptions to Nonverbal Communications
Nonverbal prompts can be used to gauge the emotional state of a person along with determining the purpose of that individual. Nonverbal communication is valuable, yet it is not exact. Contrasts in culture, habits, and convictions can impact how nonverbal prompts are interpreted. If an individual avoids eye contact, it is typically interpreted as a sign of lying or concealing. Yet, in different cultures, eye contact is reserved for family and a sign of disrespect by others.
Improving Communication in the Security Workplace
Practice makes perfect. Training works and should be considered as a necessity in the security industry. This is no difference when it comes to communication training. Having security professionals take basic written and verbal communication courses will assist in promoting the organizations expectations in communication. Once the basics are learned, they have to be perfected by practical application. The organization, in turn, has to be open to change, innovation, and advancements. Advancements in communication should be integrated and utilized when available. Having the most up to date technology is not necessary but have outdated technology is inviting disaster when it is most needed.
The art of communication is important in everyday life; it is essential in the security field. Exchanging information verbally and nonverbally is a prosses that should never stop and never stop being improved upon. Training and practical application can assist in discarding the practice incomplete communication. Limits to verbal and nonverbal communications should be circumvented by in-place communication strategies, practices, policies and procedures.