One of the biggest roles of a successful security guard is how well they communicate. Think about it – from talking with clients/guests, authority figures, writing reports, or addressing a hostile person – how well a security guard communicates will determine how people view him as successful, and in turn how they will view the business.
For example, a security guard station in the lobby of a business will often answer questions from visitors who aren’t familiar with the building. “Can you help me find this person?” Or “There’s a guy following me and it’s making me nervous.” He will be asked a ton of questions he may not be prepared for.
How well a security guards can communicate effectively could make or break a business’s reputation. Think you or your security guards are doing their best?
Here are 7 Sayings a Security Guard should avoid using when communicating with others.
1. “So what? That’s not my problem.”
This saying doubles as showing a lack of effort and a lack of concern. Both of these are traits a good security guard should show to their peers and customers. While it’s frustrating to be asked to do things that aren’t within your job description, it’s best for a good working relationship to at least try to assist. If it’s something that a security guard cannot do, it’s better to apologize and point them to someone who can help them. Then they are still showing effort and concern and the client is feeling like their needs are being met.
For example, a better response would be “Here, let me get someone to help you with that.”
2. “I’m not telling you again.”
This saying displays an unwillingness to listen. It’s effectively shutting down the conversation with the other party. Be prepared for the other person to escalate the situation, because they feel like they’re not being heard.
3. “You wouldn’t get it anyways.”
This saying is often accompanied by an exacerbated sigh or rolling of the eyes. It’s very dismissive to the recipient. It also makes you look arrogant, which is not the persona a security guard or business wants to portray when developing relationships with people.
For example, if a business colleague is asking a guard why he’s walking around the building checking doors a better response would be, “I’m just doing my typical guard tour where I check the grounds for safety. Is there anything that I can help you with?”
4. “You need to be reasonable.”
This saying puts people on the defensive. It suggests to them that they’ve been unreasonable and that they need to change their behaviour. It’s a good way to escalate a conversation to an argument!
5. “Calm down.”
Did you know one of the quickest ways to get people to NOT calm down is to tell them this? I kid, but it’s sort of true. When someone is upset and feeling like they have an issue, this phrase will make them feel like their not being understood and their feelings aren’t valid. It’s a quick way to get them defensive and more riled up.
For example, if a woman came to a security guard at a retail store upset because she didn’t get the refund she wanted, a better response would be to acknowledge her feelings and remind her of the best protocol she should take to file a complaint.
6. “That’s just how it is.”
This saying is a quick way to get a person defensive and make them feel like you aren’t listening to them. It also makes it look like the security guard either a) doesn’t care or b) doesn’t have any power to help. Even if those ARE the rules, there are better ways to communicate with a person to resolve a situation calmly and positively.
If a security guard is just following orders without really understanding why or listening to the clients, he’s less likely to make actual progress in finding out the root of the problem and resolving the situation.
7. “He’s a jerk.”
A good security guard (or any employee, really) should never be making disparaging remarks about other colleges or clients. It looks unprofessional. Even if it’s accurate, that means everyone knows it and it’s just rude to call it out. There will always be rude people you have to deal with at work (and unfortunately sometimes security guards deal with the worst of them!) but nothing is gained by broadcasting it to others. The better response would just be silence.
If you are concerned with your security guards or your own communication skills, don’t worry. Communication skills are not a talent people are born with – they are learned and cultivated. There are classes you could take, books you could read, or even online videos on communication you could watch in your free time. Like any skill, practice makes perfect!