Communicating with Others

Responding to individuals and asking questions are two pillars of communication. The use of these communication skills promotes understanding which in turns promotes a safe environment. Qualities and skills displayed by good communicators include:

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  • Good listener
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  • Genuine concern
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  • Not over-reacting
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  • Posture
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  • Asks questions
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  • Relaxed
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Content

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Identifying content while interacting and communicating with others is the skill of seeing and hearing what is really happening coupled with the ability to mirror that understanding back to the individual you are interacting with.

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When thinking about content and when answering questions internally, you should always stick close to what is actually going on or what is actually being said. Examples of questions you can ask yourself include: u201cWhat is the person actually saying?u201d and u201cWhat is the person doing?u201d

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When reflecting back information, you will get confirmation that you have appropriately identified the content or not. Examples of statements you may use include:

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  • u201cYou are saying that you are upsetu2026.u201d
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  • u201cWho are you talking to?u201d
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  • u201cCan you tell me where/when the issue arose?u201d
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Feeling

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Identifying feeling is the ability to capture in words the specific feeling being experienced by an individual. Common feeling words that can be used to convey basic feelings include happy, angry, confused, sad, and scared. When identifying feelings, it is important to think about and reflect the feeling to the individual.

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Thinking about Feeling

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Consider how the individual is feeling and the emotions they may be projecting. Begin the process of empathizing, which is a crucial step in building rapport with others.

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Examples:

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What is the emotion behind what the person is saying?

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What emotion is the person portraying with their actions?

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Are the verbal and non-verbal emotions in conflict with each other?

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Reflecting the Feeling

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Show the person that you are paying attention to their feelings; this is often more powerful than showing that you understand the content of their actions or words

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Examples:

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u201cYou seem excited, can you tell me what will help you in this situation?u201d

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u201cI think you may be frustrated with the way things are going right now, is that right?u201d

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Intensity

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There are three levels of intensity for feeling that will commonly manifest in others.

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High Intensity – manifests as rage or extreme anger

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Medium Intensity – manifests as frustration or confusion

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Low Intensity – manifests as being up-tight or nervous/anxious

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You may also experience these levels of intensity when interacting or responding to others on the job. It is a security officer’s duty to be able to control their own personal feelings to be in the best service of self and others while protecting people and property.

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Meaning

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After mastering identifying content and identifying feeling, you can combine the two skills and effectively capture where the person is in the moment. Identifying meaning requires you to paraphrase the content of an individual’s statement in such a way as to provide a meaningful reason for the person’s feeling.

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By putting together the content, feeling, and meaning and responding to all three, you demonstrate to the person that you have listened to their experience while demonstrating that you genuinely care and are invested in the outcome. Taking the time to effectively demonstrate the meaning is a critical step in building rapport with the others.

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When you respond to the individual, an effective response will convey content, feeling, and meaning. An example of how to respond at this level includes the following:

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You feel (intensity and emotion) because (reason).

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You are saying that because (reason) that is making you feel (intensity and emotion).

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Asking Questions

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There are common parameters utilized among all responders when asking quality questions known as the 5 u201cWu201ds and u201cHu201d method.

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  • Who?
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  • What?
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  • When?
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  • Where?
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  • Why?
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  • How?
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Think about what was said, or not said, and do your best to respond to the answer directly. Questions can be effective in opening a conversation when used in conjunction with the basic skills of interpersonal communication and responding to observations and the things you have heard or seen.

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When thinking about what was said, or not said, consider the following items:

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  • How does he/she look?
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  • Whatu2019s he/she saying?
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  • What did he/she say?
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  • What didnu2019t he/she say?
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Managing Behavior

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When managing behavior, there are three common areas where you may have to be more direct in your communications: when handling requests, making requests, and/or reinforcing a specific behavior.

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Managing behavior means taking charge; an officeru2019s inability to manage behavior means that all other efforts are wasted. Appropriate behavior is necessary to serve the interests of the organization/client, the facility, the individual staff member, the individual you are interacting with, and the general population present.

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Handling Requests

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Angry individuals making requests or complaints are often good at deciphering ingenuine responses. While handling these requests, it is important to maintain your humility, empathy, and compassion while still maintaining your composure and command presence. When handling complaints or requests, your primary duty is to de-escalate the situation by trying to resolve the complaint quickly and decisively.

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When the company or facility utilize a complaint form or centralized office, direct the individual to the proper resource. As part of handling the request you will likely need to make requests of the individual to take further action.

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Making Requests

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Taking action means selecting the best way to make your request. Techniques include:

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  • Be specific
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  • Use mild/polite format or direct format
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  • A mild format is simply a polite request: u201cI would appreciate it if you would…,u201d u201cWould you please…,u201d etc.
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  • A direct format is simply to identify what you want done: u201cI want/need you to…u201d
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  • Get stronger in your response/tone/posture when necessary
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  • Use your responding skills
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There may be instances where you need to soften a request to help calm or de-escalate the situation; this involves toning it down and making it more palatable to the individual(s) by putting it in the form of a request rather than a direct order; i.e., u201cIu2019d like you to stop (or please stop)…u201d

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Reinforcing Behaviors

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Reinforcing behaviors is the ability to administer negative and positive consequences effectively to control a person or group’s behavior. This can be done positively or negatively and through the use of verbal and non-verbal techniques. Physical force should be used only when there is a threat of physical harm to you, the person, or other staff or those present in the vicinity. Escalation through force should always be used as a last resort. Always refer to department policies and procedures.