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In response to COVID-19, people are wearing masks and/or standing six feet apart. This presents some new challenges for everyone on how best to connect and communicate. Often it’s hard not only to read someone’s emotions, but even to hear their voice clearly.
There are things we can all do to communicate better and make interactions more effective, though. They include how we present ourselves and also how well we observe the body language, gestures and tone of others. Check out these tips and ideas to improve your interactions and increase understanding through your mask.
You’re Wearing a Mask, But What About Communicating? Some Tip (Courtesy of Hartford HealthCare Community Network)
As wearing face masks becomes the new normal, not only for healthcare workers but for everyone else navigating life, it’s important to communicate effectively while wearing one.
Paulette Schwartz, Director of Human Centered Care for Hartford HealthCare Community Network, and LeaAnn Blanchard, Executive Director of The Orchards at Southington, know that “how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate” and offer some tips and ideas to ensure you “get your emotion through your mask.”
- Body language, hand gestures and posture are most important. Your non-verbal cues should send message of kindness and empathy.
- Relax your shoulders
- Try not to cross your arms in front of your body
- Try to keep your hands off your hips and out of your pockets
- Nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding
- Use your eyes and eyebrows. Good eye contact is most important. Let your eyebrows tell the story.
- Happiness can be seen by raised eyebrows, raised cheeks and crow’s feet
- Eyebrows pinched together and eyes drooping can indicate sadness
- Eyebrows in a “V” can mean angry
- Your tone of voice includes your speed, tempo and pitch which can be equally as impactful as the words you are speaking.
- As things are busy and stressful, try not to let that be reflective in your voice. Be straightforward and try to stay calm.
- Maintain your social distancing with a clear path.
- Make sure to remove any physical barriers that could block your view or further challenge your voice being heard behind the mask.
– Kendall Webb, Executive Director
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