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Effective Communication Paper

Tommorra Shelton
November 03, 2014
Eileen Carlin

Effective Communication Paper
Effective communication is essential in every work related relationship. There are many
forms of communication and several of those forms are done without saying a word or making a
sound. Effective communication insists that information sent should be received and transmitted
back to the sender without being lost in translation. Wallace and Roberson (2009) states, "To
understand communication, it must first be broken down so that each element is understood".
Communication must follow a process in order for the communication to flow. There are seven
steps needed for communication to begin; transmitting an idea, sending the idea through a
medium, receiving the message, understanding the idea, and providing feedback (Wallace &
Roberson, 2009, pg 16). The following topics will discuss the process of verbal and nonverbal
communication, the contrast between hearing and listening in communication, formal and
informal channels, and the various barriers that effects communication within law enforcement.
Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
Communication is a process involving several steps, among two or more persons, for the
primary purpose of exchanging information (Wallace & Roberson, 2009, pg.14). In order for
communication to take place, two minds must interact in a conversation that is both verbal and
non-verbal. The components that come along with verbal and non-verbal communication are
ideas and getting a point across by using proper communication skills. A tone can be expressed
in both verbal and non-verbal communication to help another person understand current
emotional state or thought process of the messenger. Verbal communications merely refer to the
words that are being used to convey an idea or thought by speaking. Messages that are given
orally can be transmitted in various methods. If the message is given in a pleasant tone, this could

suggest the message is friendly. Messages that are transmitted in a harsh tone could be taken in a
negative aspect. Non-verbal communication refers to body language or written words. Waving to
someone is communication that is non-verbal that could be saying hello or goodbye. Writing is
non-verbal communication that can be used to help remember something at a later time. Verbal
and non-verbal actions are the starting process to effective communication.
Contrast Between Hearing and Listening
The difference between listening and hearing during communication is simple. According
to Wallace & Roberson (2009), Hearing is only the first step in the communication process.
Hearing is the basic sense of receiving words that are spoken during the message or the "act of
perceiving sound by the ear (Treuer, 2011). In order for hearing to take place, the ears must pick
up sound waves that are transmitted to the brain. Listening is the next part of the
communication process and, to be successful, must be an active process (Wallace & Roberson,
2009, pg. 51). Listening is the understanding of words that are spoken or "something you
consciously choose to do" (Treuer, 2011). Hearing does not necessarily require focus or attention.
For instance, when you are daydreaming, you hear what is being spoken but not paying attention
to the person who is speaking. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing merely happens.
Listening requires focus and interaction with the person who is speaking; allowing one to make
sense of and understand what another person is saying.
Formal and Informal Channels
Wallace and Roberson (2009) states, "Channels of information refer to the methods or
avenues by which information flows from one person to another" (Channels and Directions).
Formal and informal are two forms of communication channels that are used in an organization
and are the basic flow of information from one person to another. In criminal justice

organizations, formal channels is the most common form of communication that normally
follows a chain of command, which comes in methods such as orders, directives and written
memorandums. Formal channels allow for consistency but often have restrictions on the flow of
information that aids in keeping an organization together. One restriction is the lack of free
flowing information because it doesnt give room for open ideas and thoughts. Another
restriction is the need to have a written record because most people fail to put in their own
thoughts or ideas. The advantage to formal channels is the regularity because all those within the
same organization receive the same information.
Informal channels allow the release of information but have a restriction on consistency.
Informal channels is the grapevine, or departmental gossip are the unofficial routes of
communication within a law enforcement agency (Wallace & Roberson, 2009, pg. 19). Informal
communication can be shared by an employee who has been given or overheard information with
another employee. The disadvantage to this is some employees do not repeat all the information
as it was given. This causes the information to be altered and inaccurate. The advantage to
informal channels is the efficiency. Working in an atmosphere with the same understanding is
beneficial to a law enforcement organization. Employees who share information have the
tendency to form a bond which can create loyalty amongst those in the same subculture of an
Barriers to Effective Communication
Regardless to the type of communication, there are several barriers that can hinder the
connection between the sender and the receiver. There are four basic types of barriers; emotional,
physical, semantic, and ineffective listening. Emotional barriers can occur in the sender or the
receiver of a message. An emotional barrier is hard to overcome if an individual is sentimental to

a case or have low self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem issues often use patterns when
communicating such as qualifiers or disclaimers that can hide the true intent of the message.
According to Wallace & Roberson (2009), low self-esteem translates into the inability to make
an assertive statement. Depression or complex psychological problems can also cause a
breakdown in communication. Law enforcement agencies have peer support groups to help
overcome emotional barriers. Physical barrier is also hard to overcome because certain
environmental conditions could make communication complicated. Anything that obstructs the
easy flow of information can be a physical barrier, such as a rigid chain of command that must be
presented a manager instead of a peer support system. Semantic barrier is not able to agree on the
meaning of certain terms, which impedes the capability communicate effectively. Ineffective
listening is easy to overcome unless there is a physical barrier that impedes the ability hear or
take in what the other person is sending. Effective listening requires an environment and
training that are conducive to concentration (Wallace & Roberson, 2009, pg. 51). When
operating in a group, most people are poor listeners that can cause a person to be inattentive. If a
discussion is boring, too simple or complex, then the messenger may lose the interest of the
listener. Talking is a form of potential power, a way to control others, to change their ideas, and
to shape their reality (Wallace & Roberson, 2009, pg. 50). There are four basic elements to
listening; the listener must have the ability to absorb what is being heard, the speaker must have
the ability to transmit ideas, the message transmitted must be interesting, and the environment
must be considered when communication takes place. Barriers to effective communication
prevent people from transmitting information clearly and rapidly (Wallace & Roberson, 2009,
pg. 51). To ensure the message has been received clearly and effectively is through feedback.

Advances in technology help implement new strategies that help aid in ways to overcome
communication barriers. Communication barriers may be overcome by developing training
methods that covers all types of barriers. One way that communication barriers may be overcome
is by initiating training in all barrier areas. Another strategy is knowing when to speak up and
when to listen, with this strategy an individual would know what is being said to them and when
to respond within the conversation.
Communication as stated by Wallace and Roberson (2009) is the process involving
several steps, among two or more persons, for the primary purpose of exchanging information.
Without communication, everyday life would be a struggle. Communication in all its elements,
channels, and directions is a way of life, and if practiced can be mastered. Mastering
communication takes time and effort but working hard mastering communication is worth the
time that has been consumed.

Treuer, P. (2011). Hearing vs. Listening. Retrieved from
Wallace, H., & Roberson, C. (2009). Written and Personal Communication: Methods for Law
Enforcement (4th ed.). Retrieved from: The University of Phoenix ebook Collection