Consider these tips from a professional interpreter when having to interpret with a mask on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Times have changed. When we walked around a store or provided services as part of our jobs - we could smite and say, "hi" or simply acknowledge their presence. Now wearing a mask has taken away much of our ability to communicate with simple gestures. Below are some tips that will help you communicate joy, share empathy and all for clearer communication.
1. Eye Contact
The eyes are the window to the soul - and now the opening line of communication. Make sure to use appropriate eye contact when you are talking to other people. Don't stare right at them, but try to show emotions. Smile with wide eyes, close them a bit for sarcasm, maybe squint when you don't understand something. A lot can be said by just some eye movements.
2. BODY LANGUAGE
Of course social distancing continues to be somewhat of a hot topic, but there are different ways to communicate with body language. The act of slightly leaning towards a person means that you are listening. Adjust your body position toward them so they know they have your attention and that you care.
Make sure to use normal gestures that you always have while talking. Maybe add a few to aid in understanding. Know someone who always talks with their hands? Well now is a great time to become one of those people.
4. VOICE INFLECTIONS
An easy way to show emotion is with the sound of your voice. If you are angry, sound angry. If you are sad, lower your voice and sound solemn. (If you are speaking with someone Deaf, make sure your gestures and expressions they see are appropriate for your emotions).
Slow your speech down and take a breath between thoughts when having a mask on. The little pauses help separate your words and makes the sound clearer. We all know that when you talk fast with one sentence right after another, you quickly realize that pauses are important.
And above all - be patient. This is a trying time for many people. Don't let the mask be a deterrent to conversation.