It seems that we’ve reached the “living with the virus” point of the pandemic. Here in Philadelphia and New York, businesses are generally open at capacity and operating more or less normally, but with indoor mask mandates. For most businesspeople, networking events are back too, but also with mask mandates. Masks and networking events can be a challenge – you need to communicate effectively, and covering your face can hinder that effort. Today, we’ll discuss how to network effectively while wearing a mask.
How To Network In A Mask
At its core, networking is about building relationships. To build relationships, it’s crucial to be authentic, and one way we convey authenticity is by reading faces and allowing our faces to be read. Covering the lower half of your face with a mask can be a handicap, but there are ways to get around this.
Mind Your Body Language
Remember, communication is more than just words – your body language plays a huge role in conveying an authentic message. Here are some tips to maximize your body language while wearing a mask:
- Perfect your handshake. A firm (neither loose nor tight) handshake with good eye contact will help to cement your image as someone genuine.
- Practice mirroring and open body language. Face people when you talk with them – this will come off as warmer and more cordial. Also, mirroring body language can improve your chances of connecting with someone. It’s subconscious thing that most humans do anyway, but it’s good to keep it in your mind as you work a room with a mask on.
Sound is simply what our ears perceive when air moves a certain way. Being a physical thing, sound can be blocked by other physical things, such as a mask. Networking events can be loud enough as it is, so you’ll need to really speak up when you’re wearing a mask. Don’t yell, of course, but emote. If you don’t, you’ll be repeating yourself over and over again.
Research Attendees Before Your Arrive
This is good practice whether or not you’re wearing a mask, but it’s especially important when a mask hinders your efforts to communicate. Most events will have a list of attendees who confirmed their attendance. Take a look and decide who you’re most interested in meeting, and seek them out at the event.
Masks can be a hurdle at networking events, but there are ways around their effects on how we communicate. What you wear, of course, is another medium through which to project your image. Curious to get a better hold on your image? We’re here to talk. Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email email@example.com to get started.