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Cheryl Dixon on COVID-19 Communication Breakdowns

If more than 90% of communication is nonverbal, then the pandemic has likely caused much of what’s typically left unsaid also to be left unseen. 

Quoted in a recent article on the impact of COVID-19 on the way we communicate, Cheryl Dixon, a communications and public relations professional and lecturer for the M.S. in Strategic Communication program, points out how facial masks, video chats and social distancing have impaired our ability to read body language and other unspoken communications.

“We are losing a lot of nonverbal cues, including proxemics (our spatial environment; how closely we position ourselves to others, the amount of space we take up) and kinesics (our body movements and gestures),” Dixon says. 

To compensate for the difficulty of reading facial expressions behind masks or attentiveness through the pixels of a computer screen, Dixon suggests verbalizing emotions and making an effort to be “present and focused” and “avoid multitasking” during video conferences. 

Read the full article and learn more about the M.S. in Strategic Communication program.