Effective Communication for Security Officers

Communication plays an essential role in our daily lives. The ability to effectively communicate with others is very important to one’s professional growth and development.

In the case of security officers, being able to carry out a conversation in a clear and concise manner is a must. It eliminates the risk of getting lost in translation and being misunderstood. On the other hand, an officer’s inability to communicate properly can restrict his job performance.

Effective communication calls for the transmitted content to be received and understood in a way it is intended.  It is necessary for the security officer to know exactly what words to use to convey his message as clearly as possible.  If a specific request is being asked of someone, that person should not have to guess what is being requested. This concept has little impact on routine request or conversation, but it is of great importance during emergencies or similar scenarios when there is no time for confusion or misunderstanding. The officer should be direct and to the point. The officer should not cloud the conversation with statements that are unnecessary and unrelated to the request. The officer who uses short statements has the best opportunity to eliminate confusion.

For instance, when a security officer says, “sir, I want to see your identification.” There is no way for such request to be misunderstood.  It’s a simple, clear, and polite request that the intended recipient will have no trouble comprehending.

Concise statements can also make the security officer’s request for compliance easier to understand. If the security officer contacts a person who is in a restricted area and makes the statement, “this is a restricted area, and we are requesting that you get out of here”, little room is left for misunderstanding what is being requested.

Communicating well doesn’t require use of sophisticated words, which can lead to further confusion. In some instances, people take offense at someone who uses unfamiliar terms and interpret it as an attempt to talk down on them. This permits anger to get in the way of understanding.

A security officer’s  communication must be able to achieve the following goals to obtain compliance with rules and regulations, gain information, direct and control conduct and foster positive customer reactions. These goals are best accomplished by effective communication skills. The ability to communicate in a friendly manner is also an indication of the security officer’s maturity level.

SEEKING A PROPER DIALOGUE

Having a dialogue with someone requires a mindset of discovery. In a dialogue, we want to keep a connection with the person we are talking to. A dialogue is a powerful combination of listening and talking. To be able to engage in a dialogue, it is necessary to have three basic listening skills. Listening is the first step in making a dialogue fully effective.

Sensing

The ears perceive the speaker’s voice and take in the message. The person is listening with his or her entire body and listening to the other person’s body language as well as his words.

Evaluating

Once the message is understood, it is evaluated based on the evidence and facts. This results in either agreement or disagreement with the speaker.

Responding

The listener’s verbal and non-verbal reactions signal to the speaker that the message has been absorbed and that after reflection and thought, the listener is ready to respond.

Another way of developing communication skills is the use of professional conversation. Make use of these phrases:

1. “Sir, Ma’am, or Miss”

2. “Please”

3. “Excuse Me”

4. “Thank You”

Communicating effectively makes a tremendous difference in the security officer’s ability to perform the jobs of a competent and professional security officer. Remember that a good talker do not always make a good listener, and a good listener do not always make a good talker.

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First published in the Guard & Agencies section of Volume 1 Issue No.6 of SecurityMatters Magazine – Print Edition

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