Communicate More Effectively When Wearing a Mask

A mask can muffle. Speak louder and enunciate.

Listeners can no longer watch your lips.

  • Confirm you’re being understood (especially with non-native speakers).
  • Slow down.

Smile more—it makes you sound more attractive.

  • Exaggerate your smile to show “eye-crinkling”, which suggests positivity.
  • Use humor: “Can you tell I’m smiling?”

Intonation—the expressive up and down of your voice–becomes more important than ever. Kick it up a notch.

Use the person’s name to keep your listener engaged.

Add gestures.

  • Wave, raise hand, thumbs up.
  • Nod your head, cock it or move it.
  • Eyebrow movement can animate you.

A mask can distract from listening. Activate your active-listening skills:

  • Feedback becomes more important.
    • Understanding: “I see, yes, right, uh huh, great.”
    • Agreement: “That works, I agree, perfect, good idea.”
  • Turn body toward or lean toward speaker.
  • Make eye contact with speaker.

Use techniques that fit your style and situation.