Choose your words carefully
By Sgt. David L. Ferrante
As the weather breaks and summer approaches, we need to be mindful of what we say and how we say it. We all know that warmer temperatures correlate to an increase in a police officer’s contacts and exposure. Let’s spring-clean our vocabulary and our image.
Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk
What does this mean? Be aware of your tone of voice and your body language. Tone is more important than the content of what you say. As a police officer, you should politely influence people everyday. There is a time and a place to raise the intensity of your delivery. According to Dr George Thompson, founder of the Verbal Judo Institute, 93 percent of successful communication is delivery style.
A warm smile, a helpful demeanor, and an open stance (not a bladed tactical stance) is useful when giving directions or taking a report from a victim. Those are our voters, witnesses and jurors so treat them with respect and with genuine concern. We need them on our side. Some experts call it “selling” while others say it is “acting.” Regardless of what you call it, professionalism is keeping your temper in check while accomplishing your mission. Conveying a positive image will yield you and your department big dividends.
Empathy is Strength
Avoid the knee-jerk reactionary questions such as, “What’s your problem?” or “What do you want me to do about it?” You are a professional police officer and are capable of handling problems and managing crisis. Police officers, regardless of their formal education, are masters of common sense. Take a moment before you respond to think about your words. Use your common sense skills that got you hired and you will be successful.
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