Your Mask and Your Verbal Communication
Wearing a mask may be one of the more common elements of today’s dress code when out and about in public. It was odd to see them at first, but they are so common these days that the people who stand out are those who aren’t wearing them!
And the variety is pretty impressive! Too bad they hide our smiles!!
In my area certain business employees are required to wear them – grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, public transportation, ride shares, banks, restaurants open for carry-out, to name a few.
While masks are not mandated for residents by our San Diego County Public Health Order, they are strongly recommended whenever you are out and about, and many now wear them.
We also see signs that masks are required to enter various businesses (e.g., grocery stores) and they are allowed to turn you away for non-compliance.
Masks are strongly recommended as part of the real estate business, too, with other recommendations to protect ourselves and others – booties, gloves, use of hand sanitizers before and after showings, virtual showings, new disclosure forms to complete with listings and before showings, and other restrictions.
I have a vacant property in escrow and the home inspection was yesterday. The buyer did not attend in person, and I let the inspector do his thing – with mask and gloves - while I did some work in the car.
When he was done we had a quick chat (from about 8 feet away) and I found it a bit challenging to understand everything he said because of the particular type of mask he had on. I needed to ask him to repeat what he said several times to be sure I heard him correctly.
I’ve noticed this in a few other customer service situations, too, mainly the grocery store.
So I wondered – is our verbal communication less effective because of wearing masks.
And when we are communicating with someone is it suffering in some way?
Are others hearing the message clearly or not?
Given the overall circumstances verbal communication would seem to be particularly important these days when we are face-to-face with others…6 or more feet away, of course. And that’s probably true more than ever in our business.
Not only do you need to be clear in your communication, but you certainly want to be sure the message is being heard by the other party…while this has always been important it could be made more complicated by donning masks.
Is your verbal communication being masked?