Learning to Communicate as an Expert

NAFI’s mission is to increase the knowledge and improve the skills of persons engaged in the investigation and analysis of fires, explosions and arsons, or the litigation that ensues from such investigations. The opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the opinion and beliefs of NAFI.

James L. Mazerat
Senior Fire Specialist
Forensic Investigations Group, LLC

Communication is the heart of every profession. Everything you do results from communication. Good reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are essential if tasks are going to be completed and goals achieved. As you develop your career, you will find various reasons why successful communication skills are important to you. You have to give clear attention to what you say to others. You need to ensure that what you say is clear, accurate, honest and appropriate. It is appropriate to consider the ages of those receiving the information as well their level of understanding of the subject matter being communicated. Your tone of voice is also important as one could wrongly believe you are irritated in having to explain the topic that you believe should be understood. If the communication is important to you, your tone should communicate you feel their understanding is just as important.

Communications may be one of the most important skills for an investigator to learn, yet it is one of the least taught in presentations and training. An investigator is asked to express the findings of the investigation to others through written or verbal communications. If the investigator cannot successfully accomplish this task, the investigation will not be successful. This article will mainly address the verbal communication issue.

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