Facial coverings and masks can make it difficult for some people to communicate. People who often rely on facial cues may not understand you when your face is covered, or your voice is muffled. As an Executive Coach, I have seen how it can be hard to talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family while wearing a mask.
When you are wearing a face-covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, be aware that you may inadvertently create a situation where another person may no longer understand you. Remember, how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.
Here are five tips for communicating when using face coverings and masks:
1.Use Active Body Language
Body language, hand gestures, and posture are most important. Your non-verbal cues should reflect the tone and theme of your content. Nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding.Focus on
2. Eye Contact
Use your eyes and eyebrows. Good eye contact is critical. Let your eyebrows tell the story. Happiness can be seen by raised eyebrows, raised cheeks, and crow’s feet. Eyebrows pinched together can sometimes convey anger or frustration, so remember that your eyebrows are part of your eye contact when wearing a mask.
3. Adjust Your Voice Tone
Your tone of voice includes your inflection, rate, and pace, which can be equally as impactful as your speaking words. Articulate loudly and clearly, without shouting.
4. Look at Alternatives
If using a mask is a serious barrier to speaking and having others understand you, consider a face shield or a see-through face mask.
5. Send a Post-Conversation Summary
Consider using a written recap of the conversation, so nothing is lost. This could mean a quick recap email, a text, a short PowerPoint deck, or a formal document that summarizes what you shared.
As we begin to wrap up 2020, let’s keep masks on and spirits up. We can do this. Thanks for helping to keep everyone safe.
Storytelling is an advanced communication tool that can build rapport, increase retention and powerfully persuade. Capturing, structuring and delivering relevant stories is an invaluable skill in business.
1) Build Rapport – Experiences are unique; however, emotions are universal. Telling a short, interesting personal story allows the listener to tap into the same emotion as the teller, creating a memorable rapport. The effectiveness depends upon expressing the relevant emotion in the story.
2) Increase Retention – How often have you been in a networking situation and found it difficult to remember someone’s name and business 30 seconds after she or he said it? Try telling a short story about your business, tapping into precisely how what you do benefits humanity. Focusing on how you benefit humanity will resonate with your listener, whom we assume is a human.
3) Persuade – Storytelling answers the question, “Why?” Telling a relatable and relevant story that answers what will happen if I do or don’t do something can be very persuasive. The listener can imagine him/herself in real-time and feel the consequences of the choice at hand when the story is told well.
There are countless ways to use storytelling as a communication tool in business. You may have noticed that relevance is the thread that runs through all three. Use storytelling to demonstrate the relevance to your listener, if you can’t do that, you should not be talking. Relationship building, making information stick, and convincing others are three of the most common ways to use this skill.