Masking the communication

Muscat: If eyes are the repository of human emotions, then all the other organs actively take part in a communication process. There is nothing like speaking ‑‑ looking into eyes ‑‑ understanding lip movements, grasping the minutest smile that accompanies one’s verbose, they say.

But it’s not less known that the invincible enemy of the modern world is spread through droplets from the human mouth and can only be prevented by these masks.

Dr Abood al Sawafi, Vice-Chancellor, University of Al Buraimi, opines that the two parts of communication, verbal and non-verbal, are equally important in a communication process and one should complement the other in getting the right message across.

“Verbal communication, words, articulation, etc deliver the message but raising a voice and the body language, the way you stand and you look at the audience also really matter. One’s face reveals a lot of non-verbal messages to the audience and facial communication hinders passing your emotions to the audience,” Dr Abood, who is also a communication expert, said.

“Masks may hide the beautiful smile and expressions while preventing the virus from spreading. But remember, we have a bigger enemy to combat and our health is of top priority, we have to use the mask whether we like it or not,” says Ammujam Raveendran, an active social worker, and environmentalist.

Shaheen Haris, Senior Sales Executive, Saud Bahwan, feels though the current pandemic scenario calls for wearing of masks as a necessary precautionary tool, a mask actually “masks” most of our facial expressions and also reduces our voice clarity thereby reducing the effectiveness of our communication greatly.

“Effective face-to-face communication happens with the proper articulation of words combined with apt facial expressions, voice modulation, and eye contact, and this is not delivered properly when a mask is worn. However, we need to let go of all these given public health.”

“For many, the mask can make it difficult to communicate,” says Mohammad Osama Rawat, General Manager, Oriental Pharmacy, “but we are left with no choice. To avoid not being understood, it’s better to speak slowly and with a higher pitch of the voice to help in making the communication better and clear.”

Anita Rajan, a housewife, and an artiste feel that masks are a hindrance to our breathing and conversation.

“Masks prevent effective communication because the words get muffled and sound different. One cannot express one’s feelings through facial expression because three fourth of the face is covered. Having said, the enemy of the world can only be prevented from entering our body by wearing face masks along with other preventive measures,” opines Anita.