10 Jul Masked Meetings and Steamed Up Specs? Tips on Staying Human
Masked Communication Places Greater Emphasis on Non-Verbal Cues
Having had several intense, in-person, socially distanced, masked meetings this past month, I can share with some authority on how demanding it is to master communicating with a sheet of fabric across your mouth and nose… All done out of the love and respect for my colleagues, clients and countrymen. The challenges?
- Steamy glasses – for those of us who adorn specs
- Voice fatigue – projecting through the barrier is arduous
- Muffled voices – distorted muffled sounds replacing clear articulation
- Indiscernible facial cues – with 60% of the face concealed, there is no way to truly measure demeanor
- Lack of humanity – no visible smiles
Never has body language been so essential to everyday communication. Every micro nonverbal cue is subject to scrutiny and misinterpretation. Here are our top 8 body language tips to infuse humanity back into your masked exchange:
- Respect the Room – Make sure you are following all the CDC Best Practice safe-distancing protocols.
- Don’t Block Your Sightline – Remove physical barriers that could hinder the view.
- Drop Your Shoulders – Concentrate on having a more relaxed physical presence.
- Avoid Crossing Your Arms – It creates a visual barrier.
- The Eyes Have It – Good eye contact is vital; crow’s feet & eyebrows tell the story.
- Heads Up – Tilt your head slightly when listening (it’s more welcoming); nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding.
- Voice & Word – Watch your tone and word choice; this includes how fast you talk; try and stay calm.
- Create a “Smize” – Smile super big so it reaches your eyes.
There’s no question that wearing a mask has changed the way we all relate to each other. By taking the extra effort to communicate, we show greater empathy and compassion for each other and help maintain the humanity behind the mask.
Public Relations specialist Bridget Paverd is a founding partner of GillespieHall. The firm is retained by global organizations to manage their reputation and enhance their relevance. A recognized crisis communications strategist, Paverd has led GillespieHall to become the most awarded and influential strategic communications and PR firm in the region. Paverd teaches crisis media management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy Delaware Business Times