3 ways to improve communication while wearing a mask, from a top speech coach

Robert Sollery wears his face mask on May 13 in Darlaston, West Midlands, United Kingdom.

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(CNN)You wear your mask, keep 6 feet between yourself and others and are committed to safety. But the measures that help minimize your risk of Covid-19 can also have an impact on your interactions with others.

As you stroll the aisle of a supermarket, you approach someone who looks familiar. To avoid an awkward exchange, you flash them a friendly smile. It's not until you pass you remember: Your smile was hidden behind a mask. Unloading your groceries at home, you see your neighbor. You excitedly ask her how she is, but when she doesn't respond, you worry your mask has muffled your voice.
As the head coach for Mississippi State University's Speech and Debate Team, my job is to teach effective communication. Without question, masks have disrupted social interactions. But communication has many components. You can adjust and enhance your communication by focusing on some of the other pieces that aren't hidden behind a mask.

    The face isn't totally covered

    Women wearing protective masks speak on the street in New York City on April 5.