Barriers to Effective Communication

2 February 2017

Barriers to Effective Communication It is said that communication is a skill that does not come to some people easily, it ha to be learned. Barbara Stennes from Des Moines, Iowa wrote “No matter how brilliant and invaluable your idea, it is worthless unless you can share it with others. For this reason, effective communication is crucial at every level of an organization”. There are different barriers to communication at every level of an organization, including the criminal justice system.Some of these barriers may affect the flow of communication, whether it is the downward flow, the horizontal flow, the upward flow, and even the vertical flow.

If information is not presented properly by the sender, chances are the receiver will not clearly understand the information or will receive only parts of the information. Some of the barriers that have an effect include semantics, emotional, physical, listening, and the speed of listening.

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Still another barrier is that of the nonverbal type which includes written messages and the other includes body language. Written communications can also be a problem if the message is not worded correctly. Body language can be troublesome to comprehend sometimes because within the use of body language there is the ability to recognize facial expressions. Within the setting of the police stations, communication is the key, whether it is oral or written. Having the wrong information given can do harm to either an officer or a member of the community.

It is important that the flow of information be that which the officers will understand, and if there are questions to asked, there should be answers. Within this setting the formal channels of communication are important because it gives the organization the sense of order and security it needs. Informal channels of communications are usually found among the officers themselves or with members of the community. Being able to understand and communicate with members of the community is an important aspect of the police stations or departments.Some of the barriers that police might encounter as part of the job include the ability to understand written orders, the emotional barriers which could include the issue of an officer having low self-esteem, or physical barriers such as a language barrier between the community and the police, or ineffective listening. Such barriers could be overcome by the police with the proper training or the proper use of communications. As with the language barriers, the officers may have to understand what the language is in an emergency.

With our diverse society, it would be expected of the officer to have some type of training in a foreign language, which is suited for the community that the station is located in. As with the listening barriers, officers must be able to use effective listening skills within the station and the community. Not being able to listen could have a detrimental effect on the department and officers involved. Those who have the problem of not listening may find that the information can be tuned out, are distracted to easily, or may have a problem with the speaker’s words, such as emotionally charged words or offensive words.The importance of good listening from an officer has two parts, with the first being that it may enhance the investigative function and the second being that it can improve relations within the community and within the police department. The barriers of semantics can also play a large part in the police station. This is the way words are used such as in remarks made about others, and how they are perceived.

Body language is also a problem at times. Officers must be able to read facial expressions or be able to tell what a suspect is about to do.It only takes a split second for things to change from good to bad, on a stop of a vehicle. Officers should implement training procedures to provide information on how to listen effectively and to communicate properly within the community and among other officers. In the correctional facilities the need for effective communication is vital. The formal channel of communication works in the same manner as the police with the communication coming from a downward flow. The informal channel of communication goes through the officers and inmates in the setting.

The officers must be able to communicate with inmates in the facility as well as with others involved. In this type of facility there is no room for miscommunication. Emotional barriers can be present in either the receiver or the sender. This may cause problems for the officers who work in the facility. Language barriers can exist in this setting because many inmates belong to different groups, which seem to use signs and symbols as a way of communicating with each other.Physicals barriers in the corrections facilities for the officers can be the inability to understand the language that prisoners may use. It could include the malfunction of equipment such as radios, computers, and even computers that control the locks of doors.

It could include the distance between the officers and prisoners or it may include the impeding of information. Semantics, such as the name or word used to describe a prisoner or officer are used constantly within the facility. Officers might find that there are different meanings to some words. This could also be the same as the language barrier.To overcome some of the barriers, the officers may want to practice the listening skills, learn the prison jargon that is used, and if orders are given the officers may want to confirm these by asking questions to clarify. Within the court room setting the art of communication comes from both sides and the center. This is the prosecutor, the defense, and the judge, who all have to communicate with each other as to keep the system flowing.

A formal channel in this setting is a must. It conforms to using a written record of all the happenings inside the courtroom. Informal channels are for the defendant and the attorney.For a person who has no background on the meaning of some of the terms has used it can be confusing, and may even cause one to have the inability to understand what it all means. In this setting there has to be the ability to clearly understand and the ability to listen effectively. One cannot sit on a jury, and not be able to listen to both sides and the judge, effective listening is a must. Some may want to tune out the testimony or opening and closing statements, because they just seem uninteresting, they may find that some of the terms are semantic, whatever the problem may be one has to overcome the barriers.

Within the juvenile facilities, the flow of information comes in the form of formal communications. There is a downward flow of information from the administrator to supervisor to officers. This will include the orders of the day, procedures and personnel information. An informal channel of communication in this setting is found between officers and juveniles, and the ability to understand the flow of information is a must in this setting. Juveniles sometimes have a language all their own and the officer must be able to understand what is being said among them.

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