Barriers to Effective Communication Paper July 18, 2011 Barriers to Effective Communication Paper When it comes to communicating many people think that there is just talking and listening in the communication process. However there is actually five steps in the process;
1) sending the message out,
2) sending the message through a medium,
3) receiving the message,
4) understanding the message,
5) giving feedback to the individual that sent the message.
1) This is the step where a person gathers their thoughts, and comes to a conclusion that this is what must be said.
Although we have thoughts everyday, there are many of them that should be kept to ourselves.
2) Once the person has decided what needs to be said, now is the time where the brain decides how it should be sent. Whether that is writing (email, text, letter, etc. ), speaking (face to face, telephone, etc. ), or some type of body gesture.
3) The third is for a person to receive the message. So if the message was sent in a conversation then the person sending it, must make sure that he/ she speak loud enough so that the message can be received.
4) This where the sender should place their self in the receiver shoes, and know how to deliver the message. That means the message should be presented in a way the receiver should know exactly what was meant.
5) Giving feedback is the final step in the communication process. However this step is only completed if the person received and understood the message sent. There are differences between hearing and listening; hearing is the perception sound, while listening is hearing and at the same time understanding what it is exactly that you are hearing.
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Hearing and listening could actually be thought of in a different way, such as ineffective listening and effective listening. One reason a person may be an ineffective listener is because they do not feel what they are hearing is of any interest to them. Another reason could be that the listener has some type of bias against speaker. However to be an effective listener there are four factors involved; the listener must have the ability, experience, education, and oral proficiency, to absorb what is they are hearing.
To be an effective listener you need to have special training in concentration and an environment where you can concentrate. In short, a person with good listening skills should be able to concentrate on the speaker, interpret the speaker’s words, evaluate their meaning, and can respond effectively. Directions or channels of communication have to do with the flow of information from the sender to the recipient. There are two communication channels used by all institutions called formal and informal channels. The formal channel is the conventional method of communication in any police department, which usually follows a chain of command.
This communication channel is characterized by directives, written memorandums, and formal orders. This type of communication gives a sense of security to a police department, while at the same time provides a sense of order. However there are some disadvantages to this type communication, one is that it is very time consuming and personnel consuming. Another disadvantage is that the formal channel of communication has is that it effects the free flow of information. The formal channel can seem to be a hindrance to spontaneous thoughts and ideas.
However there are also advantages to formal communication channel. The formal channel provides the police organization with a type of consistency, because all officers receive the same information. This is significant when there is information about a crime, and this information needs to get to the officers that are out patrolling. An informal channel of communication is basically departmental gossips. This basically is an unofficial channel of communication within a police organization. The information from these channels will not be seen on any black boards, emails, or memos.
There are a few barriers that make it difficult for people to have effective communication; these barriers are called emotional, physical, semantic barriers, and ineffective listening. However some may think that barriers only affect the receiver, but that is not true it affects the receiver and sender. An emotional barrier is when an officer has low self esteem, a simple case of depression, or a complex case of psychological problems. When an officer has one or more of these problems then it becomes difficult for the officer to express their self.
For one they may be very informative of a certain situation because he/ she may not be sure of what they are saying. A physical barrier is when a part of the environment is making it difficult to communicate with someone. A real world example of this could be a lower ranking officer that must follow the chain of command and report information to their supervisor instead of just anyone in the department. Or it could be faulty equipment (telephones, computers, or radio) within the department that is making messages difficult to understand or get send.
Semantic barrier is another form of communication barriers. This occurs when a person sends a message and says what they mean, but they use the wrong words to get their meaning across. Like if a officer tells another officer about a inmate saying,” he is such a delinquent” but the officer did not tell the officer which inmate they were referring to. So the second officer may assume the first officer is talking about a juvenile, when the first officer was actually talking about an adult. The officer should have said,” the guy in D4 is acting like a delinquent”.
The final barrier that would interfere with two people having an effective communication is called ineffective listening. Ineffective listening is when the sender’s message is not sent properly or the receiver does not hear what is being said. The reason someone may be an ineffective listener is because the topic of discussion may not be something they want to hear and it is considered boring to them. Or the topic of discussion could be too difficult for that individual to understand, that causes the person to become uninterested in what is being said to them.
However there are ways to guard against these communication barriers and become an effective listener. When receiving information the receiver has to make sure the environment is a place that allows them to concentrate. Although in order to become an effective listener requires a fair amount of training in concentration.
Wallace, H. , & Roberson, C. (2009). Written and Interpersonal Communication: Methods for Law Enforcement (4th ed. ). : Prentice Hall.