Verbal vs. Nonverbal Communication

There are five basic components of verbal communication that ultimately dictate what we communicate:

1. Sound and volume

2. Language and vocabulary

3. Pitch

4. The message itself and

5. External static or environmental distractions

Non-verbal communication is a much more extensive part of communication and therefore constitutes of different components. These primarily include:

1. Facial expression(s)

2. Gesture(s)

3. Eye contact

4. Chronemics

5. Supporting evidence

6. Posture and

7. Haptics

It is important to note that depending on the form and subject of communication, more or less communication principles may also be used during a conversation, formal or informal. Other general components of communication that may very well be an important factor in how well a message is communicated include:

1. Encoding the message

2. Medium of transmission

3. Decoding the message

4. Feedback of the message.

Decoding and feedback are the ultimate goal of any communication and are key to ensuring effectiveness of a communication. However, without proper encoding or a medium that doesn’t translate the message effectively, decoding may be virtually impossible.

Each of the component above can contribute towards the effectiveness of communication, especially when combined together.

1. Sound and volume. If the message isn’t conveyed loudly enough, there are chances that the data received may be incomplete or impossible to decode.

2. Language and vocabulary. It is important that a message is conveyed in an easy-to-understand language. Jargon, for instance, may not be suitable for external communication.

3. Pitch. Pitch can be used to communicate the importance of certain words or phrases in verbal communication.

4. The message itself.

5. External static or environmental distractions. The more external distractions there are, the harder it will be for the listener to receive and decode all the information communicated.

Non-verbal communication is a much more extensive part of communication and therefore constitutes of different components. These primarily include:

1. Facial expression(s). These help the listener understand the emotions associated with the message.

2. Gesture(s). Gestures help impress upon certain elements in of the message, working in tandem with pitch.

3. Eye contact. Displays confidence and assertiveness/

4. Chronemics. Presenting the right information at the right time is a crucial element towards ensuring the listeners actively listen.

5. Supporting evidence helps communicators drive the point home and ensure retention.

6. Posture displays attentiveness of the communicator and brings a sense of ‘liveliness’ to the message.

7. Haptics. More important for interpersonal communication, this involves using the sense of touch to convey a message.

In the security industry, there is always a need for verbal and non-verbal communication to ensure that the right message is conveyed the right way, and at the right time. For example, a simple phrase of “bring your taser with you” can mean drastically different things, depending on the way it was communicated and the external static involved. This is known as context.

To improve communication within the security setting, individuals must ensure that when communicating over the radio, they understand that non-verbal cues will most likely not be picked up. Instead, the same statement of ‘bring your taser with you’ will entirely be depending on the pitch, speed, and volume of the statement.

This may be decoded by other guards that the communicator is in trouble, even if it was a simple suggestion or a joke.

If proper communications protocols aren’t observed, even for a short while, it could lead to miscommunication and confusion in a security setting, which will ultimately impact the infrastructure adversely. Security guards must therefore understand the difference between verbal and non-verbal communication cues and communicate accordingly.