Making the Most of Masked Communication
August 26, 2020
It’s safe to say that masks are an effective means of preventing the transmission of COVID-19. However, they aren’t the most useful for communicating with those around us. As we slowly return to work and meet with our teams and clients, masks will play an essential role in our interactions. Here are five tips and tricks to make the most as a masked marvel.
- Use your nose – When wearing a mask, breathe in and out through your nose, especially if you suffer from mask anxiety. This will slow the airflow in and out of your mask, allowing you to take deeper, fuller breaths. It also helps to ease tension and keeps you relaxed. Breathing through your nose also keeps your throat moist and hydrated, allowing you to speak without worrying about cracks and, more importantly, coughs.
- Enunciate and turn up the volume – Depending on the mask or face shield you are using, your voice may muffle as you talk. Enunciate your words clearly, turn up the volume and project your voice to the back of the room. If you are soft-spoken, now more than ever, it’s paramount that you turn up the volume on your speaking voice. Remember, you don’t need to shout, but if you’re presenting to a socially distanced group, your voice needs to be heard by everyone in the room. If you are not comfortable with raising your voice, consider using a microphone.
- Be prepared – If you’re not comfortable speaking with a mask on, then the best thing you can do is practice beforehand. Before your next in-person meeting or presentation, spend some time writing your talking points and practice going over them with your mask on. Stay hydrated by having a glass of water before your meeting. This will keep you from feeling thirsty and prevent your throat from drying out.
- Know your Audience- Another critical piece of prep is to know who’s going to be your audience. If you know that someone in the audience is hard of hearing, it may be a good idea to invest in a mask with a clear window as it will allow them to read your lips while you speak.
- Be aware of your body language and use it to your advantage – Wearing a mask makes your facial expressions harder to see—smiling, frowning, and other emotions are no longer visible to those around you. While wearing a mask, be sure to emphasize what you’re saying with your body language. This is especially important in situations like interviews or pitches, where you’ll need to make an impact by using your body language to show your passion and enthusiasm. Here are a few dos and don’ts we recommend.
- Make eye contact and use your eyes to show emotions—smile with your eyes and avoid furrowing your brow.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Display openness. Don’t cross your arms in front of your body or place your hands in your pockets.
- Nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding.
- Actively listen by leaning in (where appropriate and socially distanced).
Masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s essential that we adjust our communications to include their use. It’s the safe and right thing to do. We hope that our mask tips and tricks guide you to make the most of your next in-person meeting and help make the experience a little more comfortable.