Wearing a Mask
Wearing masks is an essential step we all need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, while masks improve safety, they also make communication and authentic connection more challenging. Masks prevent lip reading, can muffle our voice, and hide facial expressions, all of which make it difficult for those around us to fully understand what we are saying.
You have most likely already noticed these challenges, but what you may not realize is how easy it is to become withdrawn and isolated by hindered communication. Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve your ability to communicate and connect with others!
Tips for Improving Communication and Connection
- Cultivate a Mask Voice: Without visual cues, it is up to your voice to do most of the work. Try speaking louder, slower and more deliberately. It is also a good idea to allow for longer pauses so others have time to think through what you said and chime in.
- Express Emotions: Typically, emotions can be expressed visually. While it may not come naturally right away, focus on using your words and voice to express your emotions.
- Practice Active Listening: While the other person is speaking, align your torso toward them, lean-in slightly if appropriate, nod your head. Let the speaker know you’re paying attention.
- Remember Body Language: We often forget just how much body language can convey. Eye contact, hand gestures, the way you stand, and the way you place your arms all help you communicate and connect with others.
- Acknowledge the Challenge: Whether it is an old friend or a new colleague, talk about how challenging communication can be while wearing a mask and brainstorm communication methods that work for you!
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