Nothing can stop you from becoming a top communicator, not even a pandemic. Here are the best practices for you to speak and present clearly with a mask on.
By TJ Walker
Be Louder When Speaking Through a Mask
Whether you are working from home or you are communicating in an office space, it’s important to know how to look and sound your best when giving a presentation in a post-covid world. As professionals, being consistent with our company’s image and our personal brands are a top priority. Being adaptable to new contexts and situations provided by the pandemic will help give you and your firm an active boost in your image. Being adaptive to the changing circumstances by refining the presentation abilities of individuals at your firm may be necessary to compete in this economic climate.
When presenting with a mask on, it is important to note that a mask muffles the volume at which you speak. If you are performing an in-person presentation, then wearing a mask may be necessary when indoors. The solution to this challenge is to speak louder than normal–– yet that doesn’t mean that we need to yell. All we need to do is to be 20% louder so that our colleagues and clients can hear us clearly. While this may feel unnatural at first, what’s more important than our personal comfort is how we come across to clients and colleagues.
When speaking with a client or colleague one-on-one, then it is highly likely that they are wearing a mask as well. If the volume of their voice is muffled and distorted, be sure to use your body language to let them know that you are not able to hear them. You can do this by tilting your head to the side with your ear facing them, using your hands or facial expression to gesture to your hearing. If those solutions don’t work, then you may want to take a pause to mention that it is hard to hear them and request that they speak up. This can be especially challenging for some if they are at a farther distance away or are soft-spoken. The bottom line is to help facilitate the best possible circumstances to be actively engaged with clients and colleagues.
The challenge that we all face while we’re in public is that one of the most significant aspects of our body language communication is now compromised–– our facial expressions. Thankfully, our eyes and eyebrows can still be used to effectively communicate our expressions. It’s vital now more than ever to be extra animated through our eyes, eyebrows, and our hand gestures. While this may take more effort, it is the best way to be sure that we get our points across to those we are communicating with. Be sure to look and engage them with your eyes to communicate more clearly.
Be More expressive than Normal
Don’t be afraid to be more expressive than usual with your body language and volume of voice. We cannot pretend that we are behind a metaphorical wall (i.e. our masks) because of our circumstances. Our responsibility as effective communicators is to circumvent this mental barrier which is currently detracting many people from having successful conversations. We can overcome this by committing to the best process of delivery and communication effectiveness while wearing a mask.
Prospects and colleagues may not be able to see your face, but they can see your expressiveness. Be sure to keep six feet away, perhaps more distance if you are indoors in a poorly ventilated area. Keep in mind that the closer you are, the more effective you will come across. It is normal to feel uncomfortable around others during this time, and it’s equally as valuable to make measured assessments of appropriate distancing around others depending on the conditions.
The Fundamentals of Good Communication Remain the Same
No matter the conditions of your next presentation or even the next time you need to speak to someone in person, the fundamental rules of communications are still the same. Either way, you still have to listen to people and affirm that you are listening to them. It is critical to make an extra effort to establish rapport and open communication with people now more than ever. Because people are generally more uncomfortable than ever before in public, being extra enthusiastic and generous with our undivided attention is a luxury that we can offer to distinguish ourselves and our firms from our competitors.
Use Deliberate Eye Contact When Presenting
When giving a presentation or speech, be mindful to pause a little more and take more time to take the pulse of the room more frequently. Be sure to scan each individual in the room, establishing eye contact for a complete thought before moving onto the next person. This way, we can still be deeply connected with our audience and can follow best practices for body language communication. In addition, it allows us time to register whether they are actively engaged or following what we are saying. Without our facial expressions to keep people alert, many presenters are finding that their in-person audiences are more distracted than before. By continually scanning the room and engaging each audience member through eye contact, you can still ensure that your audience will give you their undivided attention, despite people’s heightened distractibility.
Conclusion: Best Practices Remain the Same
Whether it’s a time of pandemic or not, be clear about the message you want your audience to remember. The best practice for helping an audience remember your message is to sue a relevant story. This story can be a case example to help make your ideas more memorable.
Using these tips, you can be a great communicator with a mask on or off. If you really want to ensure that you grasp these and additional insights, sign up for our course on Zoom conferencing. If it’s a Zoom meeting, you don’t need a mask. But there are still important, little-known insights to follow in order to come across as professional. With this course, you will gain the right mindset to make you more confident and comfortable on camera to help you through this pandemic.
Click the link below to access the course at a limited-time-only discount
For more information on live, in-person workshops and seminars or for online training solutions, please call Media Training Worldwide at +1.212.764.4955