The impact of face masks on non-verbal communication


Christodoulou, Paulina

About me

Hi I’m Paulina Christodoulou!

I am a fourth-year Professional Communication Student; I have a passion for entrepreneurship, communications, and business relations.

As a business owner of Little Waves Swim School and Airangments, communication is essential to client relations and brand perception.

The impact of face masks on non-verbal communication becomes all the more relevant. Studying the impact on communication while wearing a mask allows me to develop findings to understand customers’ non-verbal communication.



The impact of COVID-19 has created barriers to communication. Over the last year, the Ontario government has implemented mandatory face coverings while indoors and enforced physical distancing. As a business owner, I have faced communication barriers while wearing a mask. Negotiating with clients has become difficult due to newfound challenges in emotional reading and the potential for misunderstanding. 

The methods used for data collection were surveys and interviews. I surveyed a focus group of 90 individuals, with demographics that varied to provide new insights. The surveys distinguished how many people can detect a person’s facial expressions with a mask vs. the same expressions with no mask. Interviews included four service workers, offering various employees’ perspectives and using nonverbal communication in the workplace. 

Major findings within this study identified that 70% of participants could distinguish subjects’ emotions in the images portrayed. In comparison to 95% of participants that correctly identify the emotions portrayed while not wearing a mask. 61% of survey participants agreed that when a service worker has their mouth covered, it affected the service quality.

Lightning Talk

Project Tags

Covid-19, Business, Face masks, Communication, Pandemic, Non-verbal communication, Small business


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