Making a Commitment to Clear Communication – how you can make a difference where you work
By Nicole Hastie, Active Impact
Today my house is a little bit quieter, my youngest child is back at school and their older sibling will be tomorrow. Both are at Secondary School, so they are faced the prospect of wearing a face covering for most of the day and learning how to clearly communicate with others whilst wearing their own.
As more people return to work and very soon to businesses like hairdressers, shops and cafes they will all have the same challenge. Wearing a face covering can impact communication in a number of ways, it reduces sound, limits visual cues from facial expressions and stops us seeing a friendly smile.
Making a commitment to providing clear communication for the visitors, customers or students in your work place is one of the most powerful ways to demonstration an inclusive approach to working with others. You can find out more ways to support communication when face coverings must be worn here.
Using a clear face mask, or a visor is one way to ensure other people can see your face and mouth more clearly and will be more able to lip read, take context from your expressions and generally understand you better. The safety requirements of your work will determine what options are open to you but here are some tips for making it easier to provide clear communication:
- Purchase some clear face masks or visors – if your budget is limited then have some close at hand to swap and use if someone needs this. If your organisation is a non-profit/community group you can apply for funding for clear masks and other resources for clearer communication here.
- Make a sign for your reception desk/entrances that indicates your commitment to clear communication and outline how this works.
- Spread the word on social media, newsletters and poster around your work space that clear communication is important and can benefit everyone.
- If you provide social activities or a local venue you can list your services on www.yourewelcomeglos.org. This inclusive online directory gives you the tools to show what accessibility criteria you can meet and how you approach inclusion. You can tick the ‘Clear Communication’ box to show you have thought about, and put in place, steps toward ensuring face coverings are not a barrier to communicating with each other. The You’re Welcome Team are available to answer your questions about clear communication and how you can welcome and include disabled people and those with specific communication requirements in your work. To start a conversation contact firstname.lastname@example.org.