Section 9 - Effective Communications
Section Overview
Security guards encounter a wide range of situations
and are require...
Communication Skills
There are many different mediums for communication, including writing (reports, company policies),
in...
Tactical Communication
It is important to adjust a communication style to accommodate a situation or an
audience. Security...
Dr. George Thompson – Verbal Judo
Dr. Thompson ("Doc Rhino") is the Founder of the
Verbal Judo Institute.
Since 1983 and u...
Verbal Judo
Verbal Judo was originally developed for police, corrections,
and security professionals and is now a required...
Interpersonal Skills
Security guards must frequently interact with
others, whether it is their employers, peers, clients, ...
Effective Communication
What is special about effective communication?
Effective communication is communication that works...
Effective Communication Continued
Active listening
We have all had our mind wander when someone is talking to us. We hear ...
Effective Communication Continued
Way of speaking
How you say something is much more important than the actual words. In f...
Effective Communication Continued
Body language
Most of your message is communicated through your body language. Body lang...
Effective Communication Continued
How do I interview witnesses and other people?
If an incident happens while you are on d...
Effective Communication Continued
When I’m interviewing someone, are there certain kinds of questions that I should use?
A...
Effective Communication Continued
How do I deal with difficult or angry people?
If you behave in a professional manner and...
Effective Communication Continued
Upset or anxious behaviour
If you try to always be aware of your surroundings and the pe...
Effective Communication Continued
Defensive Behaviour
Recognize if someone reacts to you in a defensive way. This means th...
Effective Communication Continued
Physically acting out behaviour
As people’s anger and frustration increase, so does the ...
DO
Make a plan
call for back-up. Stay back and observe what is going on.
know where you will stand so you can escape if yo...
DO
Keep a safe distance
keep a minimum of 3 arm lengths away, out of reach for
punches, grabs, pushes. Keep further away i...
How do I deal with the media?
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that everyone in Canada is
guaranteed “free...
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Unit 9

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Unit 9

  1. 1. Section 9 - Effective Communications Section Overview Security guards encounter a wide range of situations and are required to act professionally under all circumstances. Effective communication is an essential skill for security guards in order to adapt to different scenarios and defuse situations when required.
  2. 2. Communication Skills There are many different mediums for communication, including writing (reports, company policies), in-person, by phone, by e-mail, through two-way radios, and by video recording. Security guards must be able to communicate with a wide array of individuals both orally and in writing to obtain information. Information provided by a security guard, presented orally or in writing, should always be clear and concise, and use appropriate language. Information should be conveyed accurately and without personal bias or opinion. Communication also uses non-verbal cues, such as body language. A security guard’s posture, gestures, facial expression and eye contact can all convey information. Security guards should check with their employers about communication protocols for specific situations, such as fire alarms, and the use of special communications equipment like two-way radios (See Appendix B for Association of Public Safety Communication "10" Codes). Some general rules applicable to all communications are: Be brief. Be explicit. Be concise. Make sure you are understood. Do not be antagonistic.
  3. 3. Tactical Communication It is important to adjust a communication style to accommodate a situation or an audience. Security guards should be able to adjust their behaviour and demeanour accordingly. Assisting an injured individual will not require the same communication tactics as controlling a rowdy crowd. Effective communication also ensures that security guards can be assertive without being confrontational. In any situation, it is important to communicate in a clear and concise manner. The tone, volume and cadence with which a message is presented can have a significant outcome in how it is received by its audience. Tone, volume, and cadence are especially important when dealing with people over the telephone where nonverbal cues are not available to help them interpret your reaction to the situation.
  4. 4. Dr. George Thompson – Verbal Judo Dr. Thompson ("Doc Rhino") is the Founder of the Verbal Judo Institute. Since 1983 and until his death in 2011, he personally trained more than 700,000 individuals in Tactical Communications -- a program he developed in 1983 for defusing conflict and redirecting behavior with words.
  5. 5. Verbal Judo Verbal Judo was originally developed for police, corrections, and security professionals and is now a required course in numerous states. More recently it has been tailored for other organizations (e.g., mental health, the gaming industry, hospitals, businesses, schools) and for use by civilians to protect themselves from verbal assault and physical violence. Video http://fora.tv/2009/04/10/Verbal_Judo_Diffusing_Conflict_T hrough_Conversation#fullprogram
  6. 6. Interpersonal Skills Security guards must frequently interact with others, whether it is their employers, peers, clients, or the public. Being courteous and professional are always essential and help to establish rapports and build trusting relationships. Strong interpersonal skills also allow security guards to relate well to others and prevent or defuse difficult situations.
  7. 7. Effective Communication What is special about effective communication? Effective communication is communication that works. This happens when people clearly understand each other. To have effective communication you must pay attention not only to the words that you are saying, but also to the way in which you say them and to the messages that you are giving with your face and body. Make sure that your words and actions match, so that there is less chance for misunderstanding. Listening is also very important for good communication. You must be able to understand what people need, since you are there to help them. Let’s look more closely at the skills you need to communicate well with the public and what you can do to develop these skills.
  8. 8. Effective Communication Continued Active listening We have all had our mind wander when someone is talking to us. We hear them speaking but we are not really listening to them. If you are a good listener, you are actively involved. To improve your listening skills, keep the following things in mind. Give the person silence. It allows them to think and express things in their own time and their own way. Don’t interrupt. Don’t make judgments. Focus on understanding, instead of who is right or wrong. Reflect the person’s feelings. This shows the person that you think their feelings are important. Use language to help you understand, like: “You seem upset.” Don’t say, “I know exactly how you feel.” This statement is always false. Paraphrase. This means trying to repeat what the person has said but using different words. This gives the person a chance to correct any misunderstanding. Use language like: “Let me see if I’ve got this right.” or “What I think you’re saying is …”
  9. 9. Effective Communication Continued Way of speaking How you say something is much more important than the actual words. In fact, most studies say that words are only responsible for between 5% and 10% of what you communicate! The tone, volume, and speed at which you deliver your words are very important for getting your message across to others. Use a respectful, encouraging tone of voice. Speak with expression, rather than one tone. No one likes communicating with a robot. Speak loudly enough for people to clearly hear you. Don’t yell unless you’re trying to warn people of immediate danger. Adjust your rate of speech to fit the situation. For example, it may be helpful to talk more slowly when speaking with someone who doesn’t speak English well. Try to use plain language that is used in everyday conversation so most people can understand you. For example, don’t say to someone that they tripped the intrusion contact sensors on the perimeter access control and monitoring system. It would be more helpful to tell the person that they set off an alarm by opening a door.
  10. 10. Effective Communication Continued Body language Most of your message is communicated through your body language. Body language is everything but the words you say. Body language includes: posture, hand positions, eye contact, the way that you stand, gestures such as head or hand movements, and facial expressions such as smiling or frowning. Here are some tips for using body language to show you are open to communication. Start a conversation with a smile. Make sure your facial expression doesn’t disagree with your words. This can be confusing. Keep a comfortable distance between you and the other person. It shows that you respect the person’s personal space. This is also important for your safety and it gives you a chance to get away. Stand in a supportive way. Stand at an angle, a leg length away from the other person. Keep an open body position – don’t fold your arms across your chest or put your hands in your pockets. This could make the situation worse. Keep eye contact at the level that the other person is comfortable with. Remember, many cultures do not value direct, continuous eye contact. Keep focused on the person. Don’t keep looking past the person, at your watch, etc. It will send the message that you are not really interested. Avoid distracting movements or gestures, like tapping your pen or drumming your fingers. Be aware of the other person’s body language. It can help you to understand how they feel. However, don’t make quick judgments based on one thing. For example, just because someone avoids eye contact, it doesn’t mean they are lying. Look at the whole picture.
  11. 11. Effective Communication Continued How do I interview witnesses and other people? If an incident happens while you are on duty you may need to interview the people involved or any witnesses. If you practice the active listening skills listed above, most people will be comfortable sharing information with you. Here are some other things you should do. Find a quiet spot where you will not be bothered, but remember your duties and responsibilities to the site. Whenever possible, you should have a qualified person take over for you while you go off to talk. Face the person squarely and at their level. If they are sitting, you should also be sitting. Keep focused on the person’s words. Don’t be thinking about your next question while the person is still talking. Don’t focus on some part of the person’s appearance. If you find your attention drifting, bring it back. If the person starts talking about something else, gently bring them back to talking about the incident. Remind them that you need to get the facts. Take detailed notes. Ask the person to slow down if they are talking too fast. Repeat key information to make sure it is correct. You should always tell the person at the beginning of the conversation that you are going to take notes and how important those notes are to your investigation. If the person objects, you will have to make your notes as soon as possible after the interview while things are still fresh in your mind. Get contact information, if possible, in case you need further information or someone else, such as the police, needs to talk to that witness. Keep all information that you get confidential. Explain that you will only share information with the people who must have it. Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. For example, “I will protect your identity,” or “If you cooperate, it will go easier on you.” Respect a person’s rights. You cannot force someone to help. Rights may vary, such as for children.
  12. 12. Effective Communication Continued When I’m interviewing someone, are there certain kinds of questions that I should use? An important part of interviewing someone is to know what kinds of questions to ask and when to ask them. Questions can be divided into two groups: open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions invite the speaker to tell a story. They are most effective at the beginning of an interview or when you want general information. They could include: “Can you tell me what happened?” “What did you see?” “How did that make you feel?” “What did you do next?” Closed-ended questions are used when you want specific information. They are usually answered with “yes” or “no” or short answers. They are useful to help you check information. They could include: “Were there any other witnesses?” “What time did this happen?” “Where were you standing?” Avoid “leading” questions that actually state your opinion. For example, “Why would you do something like that?” “Don’t you think you should have walked away?” Ask one question at a time. Give the person time to answer before asking the next question. If you ask more than one question at a time, the person could become confused because they won’t know which question to answer first. If you think of another question while someone is talking, write it down. You can ask it when the person finishes talking.
  13. 13. Effective Communication Continued How do I deal with difficult or angry people? If you behave in a professional manner and communicate effectively, most people will cooperate with you. However, there will always be people who will challenge you. They may do this for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have a problem with the worksite you are guarding, maybe they are sick or under a lot of stress, or maybe they just don’t like authorities. You have no control over what happens to these people before they meet you, but you do have control over how you interact with them. What you say, how you say it, and what you do may cause the person to become more or less difficult.
  14. 14. Effective Communication Continued Upset or anxious behaviour If you try to always be aware of your surroundings and the people in them, you will be able to detect many problems before they happen. For example, you may see someone who looks like they are anxious or upset. They could be pacing back and forth, wringing their hands, complaining to no one in particular, or looking like they are about to cry. Instead of ignoring these behaviours, try speaking with the person as soon as possible. Approach them gently, make good eye contact, and ask if you can help. You need to make the person feel safe and help them understand that you will do your best to take care of the situation. Sometimes people just need to know that they are not being ignored, especially if they have been waiting for a long time. An example of this would be someone waiting in the emergency ward of a hospital. Practice active listening, and make sure your tone and body language show that you are supportive, not threatening. If you are not able to deal with a complaint, try to direct the person to someone who can help them. If an anxious person thinks that they are being ignored, they may become defensive.
  15. 15. Effective Communication Continued Defensive Behaviour Recognize if someone reacts to you in a defensive way. This means they may not listen to what you are saying or act like they don’t trust you. They may be unreasonable or challenge your authority. An example would be someone who doesn’t have a pass and tries to get backstage at a concert. When you ask them to leave, they start arguing with you. They may even insult you. If a person reaches this stage, you need to respond by being directive. This means being firm and in control. It also means setting reasonable limits and letting the person know what will happen if they don’t behave within those limits. Keep your voice clear and calm and your expression neutral. Speak about the positive before the negative. With the person above, you could say, “You can leave on your own, I can escort you out, or I can call the police to remove you.” It is very important that you keep your professional discipline. You may need to tell yourself not to take something personally, practice counting in your head, or breathe deeply. Be aware of what “pushes your buttons” and practice ways for remaining calm in times of conflict.
  16. 16. Effective Communication Continued Physically acting out behaviour As people’s anger and frustration increase, so does the buildup of energy in their bodies. By the time they are physically acting out, they have lost control. They may need to be restrained for their own safety, as well as the safety of others. Always call for back-up and police if someone becomes violent. Never use more force than necessary. Ask for training in crisis intervention. It will help you learn safe ways to control or restrain someone.
  17. 17. DO Make a plan call for back-up. Stay back and observe what is going on. know where you will stand so you can escape if you need to. Watch your body language keep relaxed, stand or sit tall. keep your hands open and a neutral facial expression. DON'T do it alone, just to be a hero. your escape route be cut off point your finger, shake your fist, shrug your shoulders, roll your eyes, look bored. Show confidence keep eye contact, without staring at the person. Show calmness speak in a calm voice. use positive self-talk. Tell yourself, “I’m in control of the situation” or “I have several options that will work.” lose eye contact – this may look like fear, rejection, lack of care. shout, yell out orders or use negative self-talk like, “I’m in big trouble.” This makes it hard for you to think and act effectively.
  18. 18. DO Keep a safe distance keep a minimum of 3 arm lengths away, out of reach for punches, grabs, pushes. Keep further away if you are alone. stand at a 45-degree angle. This is non-threatening, and you can get away quickly. keep palms up in front of you. In this position you can block and grab at the same time. Use communication, not force introduce yourself and your role as protector. make statements about their feelings: “You’re very angry.” This makes people aware of their anger and its effect and turns their attention inside themselves. remove things that may bother the person, such as other people, radios. Know your limits know when you have reached the limit of what you can do, or what you are comfortable doing, and get out. Be aware use extra caution if you see signs of drug or alcohol use, or signs of emotional or mental distress. DON'T invade someone’s personal space by getting “in their face.” directly face the person – this is threatening and your body is exposed. cross your arms, raise your fists, or put your hands in your pockets. take someone by surprise. ask for details of an upsetting event. The person may get angrier as they explain the situation. deal with something that you do not know about, or that you are not able to do, just because your employer or client orders you to.
  19. 19. How do I deal with the media? The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that everyone in Canada is guaranteed “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” This is often referred to as “freedom of the press” and it means the media, who are part of a democratic society, are allowed to say what they think without being punished. The media may be very interested in talking to you if you are guarding a site where something interesting has taken place, like an accident, a crime, a visiting celebrity, a labour strike, etc. It is your job to protect the people and information at your site. It is not part of your job to speak for the company. Check your post orders to see if they name a Public Relations person as a contact. This is the person who is authorized to give interviews or press releases to the media. If a Public Relations person is not named: refer the media to a site manager or your employer. do not make any statements or give your personal views, even if they tell you it is “off the record.” do not fall back on the “no comment” answer, as that can be used against you.

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