You have to make that extra effort to connect (interview or with your coworkers) when wearing a mask. Here are a few do’s/don’ts for forming a better connection.
How can you connect with people when a mask is covering your welcoming smile? Making eye contact alone may or may not work if people are distracted. As a result, have you stopped trying to connect with people? If you are at work, you have to make a more deliberate effort to connect. Here’s how to make things a little easier, even when wearing a mask.
Make the Connection, Despite the Mask
To read the person you’re talking to you generally look at their face to see if they’re smiling or frowning, distracted or bored. How can you do this when everyone is wearing a mask these days? Your cues are highly limited now. It’s a strange time when so many of our normal behaviors have been revamped in the face of the pandemic. Communicating empathy is really hard when your smile is covered up. What’s the answer?
First, according to Psychology Today, people can still discern some emotion from their eyes alone. However, the study they published also said some people were better at understanding tone just from your eyes than others. This means, in today’s new normal of mask-wearing, you should probably adjust your approach to make it easier for your listener to help them understand your frame of mind during a conversation.
You need a mask voice. Since the mask covers your facial expression, you should consider using a slightly different way of speaking to compensate. For example:
- Talk slightly slower and a little louder than normal. Masks muffle your voice a bit, and while there’s no reason to yell, you want to be sure to articulate clearly. If you’re normally a fast speaker, just slow it down a little to make sure people understand your tone with no facial expression.
- Use pauses a little more often to allow people plenty of time to respond back. It’s harder to pick up on visual cues when someone is naturally putting a break in their speech. Allow a little more time to make sure your cue is picked up on so a back-and-forth conversation can occur.
- You can raise your eyebrows, nod emphatically, or use hand gestures to make the conversation more welcoming. Find new ways to emote that don’t require smiling and you will have no problem connecting.
- Practice active listening by leaning toward the person speaking. Nod and say, “I hear you.” Turn your torso to the person and acknowledge the speaker while making eye contact.
- You can also have a greeting gesture, whether it’s a wave or a thumbs up. Since we’re not shaking hands anymore, trying nodding and waving or some other gesture when saying hello and greeting people.
Now is not the time to retreat. Despite our masks, it’s time to connect. Find a way to overcome hiding your nice smile behind that mask. Try these tips at work or even out in the public to make a more human connection with those around you.
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