Effective Communication While Wearing a Mask

Two women bump elbows while wearing masks. - 7/07/2020

Since we know that wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we wear one every time we leave our homes. That being said, masks can be a communication barrier. Regardless of the setting, home, work, school, church or community, we can remove that barrier.

Use these four tips to better connect with others while wearing a mask.

  1. Call People by Name. The best way to get someone’s attention and let them know you care, is to say their name. Calling someone by name forms a connection and shows courtesy and professionalism. It lets him or her know you are engaged in the conversation.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Body Language. Body language is a big part of how we interact with others. It’s no surprise that a piece of material that covers most of our faces can inhibit communication. Look at a person eye-to-eye to make sure he or she understands what you are saying. Use your hands, eyes, shoulders, eyebrows and head to convey information. Point, nod and smile. Much of the time, people can see in your eyes whether you are smiling or not. A smile puts people at ease.
  3. Speak Slower, Speak Up and Speak Clearly. A mask is a barrier, not only to germs, but also sound. Take your time and speak slower, speak up and speak clearly to ensure a person understands you. Keep in mind that someone may be hard of hearing. Hearing loss affects people of all ages. Avoid sounding judgmental or intimidating by rephrasing words instead of just repeating them. 
  4. Ask if your Explanation Makes Sense. It can be easy during a busy day to slip into a routine and lose sight of how well we communicate. Ask the people you interact with, “Does my explanation make sense?” We can prevent a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities when we clearly communicate.