Barriers to Effective Communication Paper Tametrius Walker Mrs. Alsup CJA 363 February 2, 2011 In this paper I will be discussing the process of communication and its components, discuss the difference between listening and hearing in communication, talk about the formal and informal channels of communication, talk about the different barriers to effective communication, and lastly discuss the strategies that may be implemented to overcome communication barriers. Communication is very crucial in the criminal justice system; it is the key element for success.
From a rookie all the way up to a chief, every police officer must be able to speak, listen, and understand without excuses. There is no room for poor communication in the criminal justice system, because it is a waste of time and a waste of everyone’s energy. An author named A. Richard in 1928 gave the best definition of communication he said, “Communication takes place when one mind acts upon its environment and that another mind is influenced.
In that other mind an experience occurs just like the experience in the first mind, and is caused by that experience” [(Wallace, 2009)].
Communication is not an isolated event, it is a process. It is five steps that the communication process contains and it is transmitting an idea, sending the idea through a medium, receiving the message, understanding the idea, and providing feedback to the message sender. The communication process becomes flawed, when failure occurs during any of the five steps, and the information that is at hand will not flow in a smooth and accurate manner. The first step to communication is transmitting an idea. This step is the information of several thoughts and the desire to express the ideas.
Sending the idea through a medium, which is the second step means that the message needs to be sent once it is formed. Transmitting an idea can be done in writing, orally, or by action. Each method is interpreted in a different way, no matter what medium is used to send a message. The critical part of communication is receiving the message. This is the reverse of message transmission. In order for the message to be effective, it must be received and acted on. An important part of communication understands the idea.
What is the point of transmitting the idea in the first place, if nobody can comprehend the message? The sender should always take into consideration the person or people that are receiving the information before the message is even sent, putting themselves into receiver’s shoes so that that the essence of the idea is communicated. Providing feedback for the message sender is the last step in the communication process. The communication loop comes to an end, when this step occurs. At this point the recipient let the sender know if the information that was received was understood or needs clarification.
Exchanging information that involves at least two people is the primary reason for communication. The communication process is the essence of our lives and how we get everything we do across to the rest of the world that is why it is so important. There are two steps when it comes to communication. Step one is hearing and step two is listening. Both of these words are different. In order for the communication process to be successful you have to hear first and then listen. Hearing is when a person ear picks up sound waves and then sends it to the brain.
Listening which is the active process is the second part of communication. You need to be an active participant in other words. The active listener not only evaluates the message before they respond, they also think as the speakers relay the message. The thought speed of listeners is a lot faster than the speaking speed of listeners, which will result in lagging and may lead to day dreaming. A listener must concentrate on the message so that they may become an active listener to be successful in communication to overcome this.
The traditional communication method in an organization most of the time is formal and informal. In formal communication this channel follows the chain of command, which is typified by detectives, formal orders, and written memorandums. These forms provide order and security. The use of excessive and exclusive communications has certain disadvantages. Strict adherence to formal channels can be personal and time consuming, this is one disadvantage. Memorandums must go through the chain of command, then forwarded to the right personnel in order to be drafted carefully.
It will also require written records and a lot of people do not like putting their information on paper because it will restrict the flow of the written information, this is another drawback of formal channels. Formal communications also have advantages, however. Formal communication makes it easy for officers because the new information that are about crimes that need to be given to all officers, can make the situation critical, then formal communication is very clear and less confusing regarding the contents.
Informal channels which is departmental gossip. This is used between detectives and patrol officers. Using informal channels can save time when time is critical. Instead of going through the entire process, informal channel allows an officer to take the short cut and pass the information on quickly and responsibly. It is also used so different departments can share information. For instance, if a robbery crime resulted in a homicide. This situation allows both departments to team up and solve the crime.
When it comes to barriers to effective communication, there are four different types; they are emotional barriers, physical barriers, semantic barriers, and ineffective listening. An emotional barrier means that everyone takes a situation in their own way. Emotional barriers happens in the sender or receiver of a message, majority of the time an individual will let their experiences get in the way while transmitting or receiving information. Examples include fear, anger, and hostility. A physical barrier is anything that allows the free flow of information difficult.
A semantic barrier is studying the meaning and development of words. For instance, officers interpret juvenile delinquent in different ways such as youth acting out, hard core, or under age youth. It can result in bad communication having the inability to understand one another. Ineffective listening which is the last barrier is failure to receive or hear another individual message. There are many strategies that may be implemented to overcome communication barriers. When it comes down to emotional problems peer support system will help because this allows officers to work with one another to solve roblems. When addressing physical barriers, not allowing anything to slow down the flow of information will overcome communication barriers. If semantic barriers are guarded against it will help officers to agree on the meaning of terms, which will help them to effectively communicate. Lastly, I think the best way to overcome communication barriers is to help people improve their listening skills. It will help the criminal justice department if officers will use these strategies because it will overcome all their barriers to communicate.
As you have read communication is very important. In every aspect of the criminal justice system, it is the key element for success. Not only will it better ourselves as officers, with these skills of communications, but we can also strive for better goals which will not only help the department, but also the judicial system and our communities. We can overcome barriers and encourage others that are striving to do the same, As long as we push forward and follow these strategies. Reference Harvey Wallace J. D. , C. R. (2009). Oral and written communication