In these crazy Corona times, wearing masks helps us save lives, but as some of us have realized, there’s a downside to wearing them. They muffle our voice, and make us sound less clear just by the mere fact that people can’t read our lips or see our facial expressions.
As non-native speakers of English, we sometimes feel that we already experience some communication barriers. Usually, without a mask, it is manageable. But wearing a mask can make it a lot more difficult. This is why it is important to know that there are some things we can do to work it out and gain back your clarity.
How? First, remember that clarity is more important than accuracy. For example, without a mask, reductions are great, but when having a mask on, they might compromise your communication. In addition, you need to remember that speech sounds are not equally important. You definitely want your consonants to be clear (without dropping any consonants). And when it comes to vowels, it’s ok if not all of them are accurate, as long as the vowel of the primary stress of the word is clear (as you’ll see in the video).
Also, you don’t want to invest too much energy on every single word. This is true in general, but all the more relevant when wearing a mask. Make sure to take deep breaths in order to support your voice and your message. Then, focus only on the words that drive your message forward. The stressed words should be longer, louder and higher in pitch.
And finally, use your voice in a way that supports you. Head resonance carries your voice a lot better than chest resonance when you have a mask on!
To learn more and to see examples, watch my video:
The most important thing – wear a mask to stay safe, but don’t let it hold you back. Interact, speak up, and be the best version of your masked self in these crazy times.