Are You Masking Your Verbal Communication?

By
Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

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!!

 

mask and glovesIn 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.

 

mask on Carlsbad Art WallSo 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?

Comments (44)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi George Souto 

Ha ha. Well we see lots of bandanas and scarves here since you cannot find official masks! So are you going to share a photo?!
Jeff

Apr 18, 2020 08:26 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Good for you, Kathy Streib . I have several masks to choose from. I think it's important to wear one when out in public...better to be safe!

Thanks for including me in your weekly post!

Jeff

Apr 18, 2020 08:34 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Part of communication is seeing the other person's complete face. This is why robber's wear masks so half of their face is hidden. If there is any concern about miss communication, then a follow-up email should be written. 

As to the masks, what I have observed is most people do not know how to wear them and use them properly. My sense is masks are giving many a false sense of security which also happens with communication. Thanks Jeff Dowler, CRS 

Apr 19, 2020 06:27 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great thought piece Jeff Dowler, CRS You and I are dealing with the same climate about 10 miles apart. I have only worn a mask in Sprouts, Vons and my bank. Otherwise I avoid establishments and get outside with my dog often, on isolated urban hikes through UTC and La Jolla including the wonderful USCD campus. One of the unexpected joys is exchanging a nod with a smile to the pedestrians passing by on the other side of the street. Many have taken on the etiquette of crossing the street to avoid close contact when jogging/walking/hiking. Those smiles seem to mean more now.

Apr 19, 2020 09:56 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in German and Real Estate * M.A. ABR ASP

Is our verbal communication being masked? Great question to ask Yes, yes, I think it is! As of yesterday, April 18th, we are required to wear a face mask when going grocery shopping here in MD. You are right, we've quickly become accustomed to seeing them everywhere. While necessary, it does hinder communication. I've had trouble understanding what the lady at the check-out told me (a joke.. I got that much, and politely laughed).

We also don't see all the facial expressions our conversation partners make. And they in turn don't see us smiling, or biting our lip! It is, and will be moving forward, much more important to verbalize - loud and clearly - what we typically express via non-verbal clues. 

Apr 19, 2020 12:02 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Jeff Dowler, CRS ,

I was glad to see Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. We are now required to wear masks when going into any business, picking up take out, showing property etc. Our inspectors have requested we not attend inspections....they will video conference and go over the inspection so its much easier to understand. We are also not allowed to go to closings with our sellers or buyers. Only the people signing are allowed at the table.

Apr 19, 2020 03:32 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks Leanne Smith  - that's an excellent point about the non-verbal communication and only being able to see the eyes!

Jeff

Apr 19, 2020 03:50 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for the kind words Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets 

There are certainly more people out and about walking - by themselves, with kids, with dogs. And lots of smiles and hellos. And it's certainly a different experience going shopping these days. I'm still surprised to see some people not wearing masks. Some stores require them.

Jeff

Apr 19, 2020 03:53 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

All good points Andrea Bedard . Some masks are easier to hear people through than others. And it's weird...still...just seeing part of others' faces, especially when talking with them directly. No doubt it's strange for everyone!

Jeff

Apr 19, 2020 03:54 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR 

Yep it's pretty much the same here. We don't do our closings with people gathered at the table so that hasn't change.

Jeff

Apr 19, 2020 03:56 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS - We have the same guidelines in Sedona for real estate and masks.  Our Safeway makes you wear a mask and Bashas does not...yet!  We have a form to fill out for any buyers who want to see a listing. Booties, masks, and hand sanitizer or gloves must be worn.  I told my sellers that I would open all doors for a buyer so that they don't have to touch anything. 

Apr 19, 2020 06:28 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It’s been pretty straightforward with me for those reasons. Keep up the great work!

Apr 19, 2020 11:25 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Great questions. I'm not in any public situations at all anymore so I can't speak to this. My husband and I are taking this stay at home thing very seriously.

Apr 20, 2020 01:19 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sounds pretty much the same here Sheri Sperry - MCNE®  It took a while getting used to seeing so many in masks. Yep, we have new forms to - for the seller and for anyone needing access to a home (agents, buyers, inspectors).

Jeff

Apr 20, 2020 04:53 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hope all is well in NY Laura Cerrano Thanks for stopping by!

Sharon Tara  And that's a good thing!

Jeff

Apr 20, 2020 04:54 PM
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Grants Pass, OR - Bend, OR
The Blessed Realtor - ABR, CRS

I experienced this issue today with a barista.  She couldn't hear what I was saying through my mask.  So, I stepped back a few feet and pulled my mask down for a few seconds and said;  1/4 sweet mocha please ;-)

Apr 20, 2020 08:19 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jeff, it is difficult to hear with a mask on, but we all must wear masks too, to protect others.

Apr 21, 2020 07:57 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Great post as always Jeff Dowler, CRS I feel a bit strange when I walk about with my mask and sunglasses but here in Pa it is mandatory and unfortunately we are also not considered essential workers. Listening to your story of meeting Home Inspectors seems like days gone by.  Stay Safe 

Apr 22, 2020 03:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Melinda (Mel) Peterson  - I suspect it's an issue for many!!

It's important to do, but certainly has take some getting used to Joan Cox 

Jeff

Apr 22, 2020 04:02 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Hannah Williams 

SOOO nice to see you back on AR. You must have gotten everything worked out (and maybe this happened a while ago but I clearly was not aware).

Hope all is well!!

Jeff

Apr 22, 2020 04:06 PM
Hannah Williams

No, Jeff, but I can comment that is about all-- without being able to work or do business great to hear what others are doing - Miss the Rain and miss work 


Stay well 

Apr 22, 2020 04:46 PM