Chapter 2 – Communication

Principle of Communications

During this lesson, you will learn:

  1. Verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  2. The importance of good public relations.
  3. Techniques for handling hostility and managing conflict.
  4. Proper communication methods for telephone, radio, and public address systems.
  5. Communicating with people of culturally diverse backgrounds.

11 Great Communications Tips

  1. Communication is both an art and a science.  It’s also a skill that must be learned and practiced.  Communication is the largest part of your job!
  2. Speak Slowly.  Remember:  people don’t retain most of what you say.  If you speak slowly, it helps people to receive your message more clearly.
  3. Be Friendly.  If you’re friendly, your customers will be more likely to listen.  If you’re not friendly, your customers will be likely to tune you out!
  4. Practice.  You won’t get better if you don’t practice. Slow down.  Put a smile on your face.  Really listen to yourself.  Work on it each day.
  5. Short and Sweet.  The more words you use, the less likely people will remember them.  Keep it brief!
  6. Use Proper Grammar.  Avoid slang.  Avoid “ain’t”. Make your verbs agree with your nouns.  The phrase “I was like” is NOT proper grammar!
  7. Always Use “Sir” or “Ma’am”.  Put a “Sir” or “Ma’am” in each sentence.  If it’s a two-word sentence, “Sir” goes at the end.  If it’s more than two words, “Sir” goes at the beginning.
  8. Avoid “Non-Words”.  Many people tend to pad their sentences with excess words.  Be careful about these!
  9. Please and Thank You.  Say “Please” and “Thank You”.  Courtesy is always appreciated, no matter who you’re speaking with.  Never ask without saying “please” … and never receive without saying “thank you”.
  10. Make Eye Contact.  Look directly at the other person. Lack of eye contact causes a lack of trust.  People will trust you if you look them in the eye while speaking or listening.
  11. Take Notes to Listen.  The best tool for good listening is note-taking.  Remember:  we tend to retain very little of what we hear!  The more notes you take, the better a listener you will become.

 

Managing Conflict

Security Officers deal with all sorts of people, from all walks of life. And sometimes people have conflicts.  There are two kinds of conflicts which you will be expected to manage:

  • Conflicts between other people; and,
  • Conflicts between yourself and other people.

As a professional Security Officer, you must always be calm, patient, professional, and fair.  No matter how angry others may get, you must keep your cool.  Your client and your fellow employees are counting on you!

Managing Conflict Between You and Others

People will get angry with you.  They may get impatient with access control procedures or seek information that you cannot give.  Do not respond to anger with anger.  Remain calm and focused.

The best way to manage conflict between yourself and other people is to exercise the 3-Step Compliance Procedure:

  • Request Compliance.  Calmly explain the rule, and the reason for the rule.
  • Request Compliance Again.  Calmly repeat your original request, word-for-word.
  • Contact Your Supervisor.  Politely inform the other person that you will have to contact your supervisor.

You must remember that people are not angry with YOU – they are angry with the rule you are trying to enforce.  Don’t take it personally! You are only doing your job by enforcing the rules.

  • SMILE.  A smile can go a long way toward diffusing a difficult situation.
  • Be Firm But Fair.  Do not negotiate.  You cannot take it upon yourself to change the client’s rules.
  • Show Empathy.  Let the other person know that you do understand their frustration … and if you were them, you might feel the same way as they do.
  • Show Respect, Always.  Use “Sir” and “Ma’am” even more than usual.  Tell them you respect their feelings: “Sir, I respect your feelings – but …”
  • Control Your Voice.  Keep your voice low and smooth.  Don’t raise it.  Speak deliberately and calmly.  Choose your words carefully.
  • Keep Your Hands At Your Sides.  Don’t raise them!  Raising your hands can indicate that you intend to use force.
  • Don’t Turn Your Back.  Do not leave until the other person leaves.  Call for help, if necessary.

Managing Conflict Between Others

It’s possible, if not likely, that you will encounter an argument or fight between other people.  Or it’s possible that you will be called to the scene of such a disagreement.

  • Your job is to maintain order!
  • Demand Peace.  Don’t just ask – tell them that this behavior is unacceptable at your facility.
  • Don’t Take Sides.  Remain impartial.  Both parties are your customers.
  • Don’t Use Force.  Don’t even touch anyone unless you are defending yourself, or unless someone is in danger of being seriously injured.
  • Cool Them Off.  Diffuse the situation by talking.  The goal is to take momentum away from the dispute.  The best way to do that is to take charge of the conversation.
  • Separate Them.  You don’t have to physically get between them – but you should get one of them to come away from the area.  “Sir, can you please come with me for a minute?  I have some questions.”
  • Write an Incident Report.  After it’s over, document the incident on an Incident Report.  Answer all the pertinent questions:  Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

Good Communication is important!

Effective communication and good public relations are critical to your employer’s success.  Our customers and their customers will know us best by the way our Security Officers and other employees communicate with them.

Communication – a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior. * Webster’s 9th Dictionary (2020)

The 4 Parts of Communication

Communication is a process.  That process has 4 key components, or parts:

  1. Sender- the person delivering the message
  2. Message- the message being sent
  3. Receiver- the person receiving the message
  4. Feedback- affirmation that the message was received by the person intended, and that they understood the message

How Communication Works

Studies show that most communication occurs non-verbally.  We may think that most communication occurs through speaking — but it’s just not true!

55% of information is retained through sights

– body language       – hair color and style

– clothing                  – eye contact

– facial expression    – posture

38% of information is retained through sounds

– tone of voice         – volume (loud or soft)

– accent                   – speed (fast or slow)

7% of information is retained through words

 

Non-Verbal Communication

You send some powerful messages without even speaking.  This is called “Non-Verbal Communication”.  Here are some easy tips on how to improve your style.

Facial Expression                                          Eyes

– Smile!                                                           – Make eye contact

– Keep eyebrows up                                        – Keep eyes fully open

– Look interested                                             – Stay focused; don’t wander

– Keep your chin up

Hands                                                             Posture

– Use “open” gestures                                      – Stand straight and tall

– Keep gestures slow                                       – Shoulders back, butt in

– Don’t point at people                                      – Don’t slouch or lean back

– Lean forward when seated

Tips on Effective Listening

Communication is part of our job — and most people use words to communicate.  But since only about 7% of the information we retain is through words, it makes sense to improve our listening skills.  Here are some tips:

  1. Take Notes. Write down what’s being said.  This creates a “picture” of the words, which helps you remember them.  Always carry a pen and a notebook when you’re working.
  2. Focus Your Attention. Tune-out distractions.  This takes practice!
  3. Repeat Back Key Information. This is known as “reflection”.  Reflect key items:  names, phone numbers, addresses, times.
  4. Be Patient. Avoid answering until the speaker is finished.

Ask them: “Hold on …Let me write that down!”

Communicating with Diverse Cultures

A Security Officer will deal with people from all walks of life.  You must be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is like you, your family, or your friends.

  1. Treat everyone like a individual. Be a professional!
  2. Enforce your policies equally and fairly to everyone.
  3. Work hard at understanding your own negative emotional reactions and prejudices, and work to overcome them.
  4. Show courtesy to all with whom you come in contact.
  5. Be patient but firm.
  6. Speak slowly and clearly, to make sure you’re understood.
  7. Avoid judgement of others. Rely on facts and observations.
  8. Look at yourself through others’ eyes, to understand their point of view.

A successful Security Officer must be able to effectively communicate, interact, and work as a team with other individuals.

Today, this factor is more important than ever, as the workforce has grown so diverse.

You will encounter a mix of races, sexes, ages, physical abilities, and cultures at your worksite.

Upon completion of this lesson, you will have a learned a great deal about Diversity; what it means to YOU in your role as a Security  Officer; and what YOU will need to do to be successful in the workforce of the future.

Take a look around at work.

Chances are, you will see a picture that is very different than it would have been 5-10 years ago.

In the past, the workforce was made up predominantly of white males.

It is now a very different mix of ages, races, lifestyles and values.

Just as many other things are different than they were in the past, and continuing to change rather rapidly, the same holds true for the U.S. population.

This translates into some significant trends:

There will be a much more equal balance of male and female employees.

There will be a shrinking number of whites and an increasing number of people of color in the workforce.

There will be a shortage of new employees under the age of 24.

Trends continued:

There will be an increasing percentage of people between the ages of 25-54 and over.

The Median age of the labor force, by gender, race and ethnicity projected in 2020.

 

Gender:                            Race:                       Ethnicity

Male             42.4              White  43.3              Hispanic                             38.7

Female         43.3              Black  40.4              White Non-American          44.8

Asian                                  44.0

YOU may be thinking to yourself– well that is all fine and good, but what does this have to do with me?

You will come in contact with a much more diverse group of people in your personal and professional life.

A key element for achieving success in the workplace has always been the ability to effectively interact, communicate and work with your peers, managers and clients.

Can each of you provide an example of how poor communication with others could cause problems on the job?

In order to communicate with people of diverse cultures, we must understand how we would feel in that same situation.

We must also eliminate barriers to communication, such as stereotyping.

STEREOTYPING IS TO SAY…

“Women are: weak, sensitive, dependent, nice and passive.”

“Men are: powerful, aggressive, achievers, and competitive.”

Can we honestly say that all women or all men possess the above characteristics?

Some other common stereotypes are:

“security officers are lazy.”

“all security officers sleep on the job.”

“police love to eat donuts.”

Are these statements fair? Are these statements all true?

To learn to value diversity, it helps to recognize the obstacles first.

A stereotype is a preconceived notion.

It’s a prejudgment of another person.

Stereotyping has no place in any workplace!

It is a barrier to good communication.

Answering the Telephone:  A-I-D!

You will answer the phone many, many times as a Security Officer.  It’s important to apply the same communication and public relations principles to the telephone.

When the phone rings, here’s a simple and effective way to get started:

A – Acknowledge with a greeting

I – Identify yourself and your location

D – Determine who or what your caller needs, and deliver

Take responsibility for the phone call!

Using the Telephone

Verbal and listening skills are especially important on the phone!

When You’re On The Phone

    1. SMILE before answering the phone. It actually has a positive effect on the way your voice comes across.  Really!  Practice it.
    2. Answer before 3 rings.
    3. Say “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, “Good Evening”.
    4. Give the name of the company or organization you’re representing.
    5. “May I Help You?”
    6. Be clear and articulate. Speak a little more slowly than you normally would.  This    will help you to be understood clearly.
    7. Use “Sir”, “Ma’am”, “Mr.”, or “Ms.” throughout the conversation.
    8. Be friendly and helpful. Nobody wants to speak with someone who’s cranky. Treat every caller like a individual — because every caller is a individual!
    9. Take Notes. Remember:  W, W, W, W, W, H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).  It’s very important that you understand and remember what the other person is saying.  Write down the caller’s name, and the date and time of the phone call.
  1. Repeat back key information. Repeat names, dates, times, numbers, addresses.  Pay particular attention to the spelling of names.
  2. Be honest. If you can’t provide the necessary information, say so.  But try to help in any way you can.
  3. Never argue. That’s poor customer service!  Keep your cool, no matter how difficult it becomes.  You’re a professional!
  4. Thank the caller. Before you hang up, thank the caller for calling.  It helps give the caller a final positive impression of you and the organizations you represent.

End the call with “Thank you for calling. Bye, now!” 

Communicating by Radio

You may be assigned to a post that uses radios.  It is important to remember that all radio communications are subject to regulation and enforcement by the Federal Communications Commission.  It is criminal behavior to make obscene or improper radio transmissions or to interfere with radio communications.

  1. Keep the volume reasonably low.
  2. Use the proper authorization codes.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly, “across” the mouthpiece.
  4. Keep sentences short.
  5. Ask for acknowledgement of your messages.
  6. Do not use radios during a bomb threat, due to radio waves.
  7. Keep confidential information off the airwaves.
  8. Always remember: your transmissions can be monitored.

A radio is not a toy. Don’t play with it!

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