6 Ways to Communicate More Effectively While Wearing a Face Mask
While wearing a face mask is absolutely essential if you're going to be leaving the house, it can also make certain things tougher.
Masks aren't always comfortable for example, and have a bad tendency to steam up glasses, but our biggest issue with them is that they can make it harder to communicate effectively.
Before mask mandates, we really took certain things for granted. Being able to read someone's facial expression (and their lips) is such an important part of communication, and things get even worse when your voice is muffled under a mask. Struggling to be heard while wearing your mask? These tips can help.
Use People's Names Before Talking
Start by remembering that communication is a two-way street, and that the better you and the person you're chatting with are paying attention to each other, the better you'll understand each other. Before you start speaking to someone, clearly say their name. Once they're looking at you, you're more likely to have their focus, and strong communication will follow.
Find the Right Time and Place
As much as you might want to make this conversation happen, if you're in the middle of a busy intersection or somewhere next to a construction site, you're not going to hear each other, no matter how well you can both speak under the circumstances. Quiet, calm places are more conducive to chats. It's also best that you're somewhere where you can both look at each other, and where you're not going to get distracted by visual interruptions, either.
Maybe this one's obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people mumble quickly and quietly under their masks and expect everyone to understand them. Your voice can easily be muffled under the fabric, so you might want to speak more loudly and slowly, exaggerating certain sounds, in order to be more understandable. It can be a pain, but the comprehension is absolutely worth the effort.
Exaggerate Hand Movements
Any time your face is masked and you can't convey tone with your facial expression, talking with your hands can become essential. Pointing and gesturing when you're referring to specific people, places and things will do wonders to get your point across, as will any other movements you can think of to make yourself clearer. Even emotions like joy, sadness and anger, which would usually come across in the face, can be shown with hands, so make the most of them.
Be Patient and Ask Clarifying Questions
Communication isn't always going to be easy when you're wearing a mask, and even though you might feel frustrated, it's important to be patient. Sometimes you'll need to repeat yourself or clarify things that you already thought were clear. Other times, you'll want to ask some questions of your own to ensure you're both on the same page. You can even ask if there's anything you can do to make yourself clearer. When it comes to talking, everyone's different, and a little compromise can go a long way.
When All Else Fails, Text
Sometimes, you're just not going to understand each other when you're talking, and you have to realize that's not a failure on your behalf, or theirs. These are weird times, and when person-to-person communication isn't possible, texting can often become your best option. While it's strange at first to text someone who's right in front of you, it can be really effective. Before long, you just might find that it becomes second nature.
Find this useful? Click HERE for a list of struggles you'll relate to if you've ever worn a mask in public.