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The past two weeks in Boston have been lovely as people have once again flowed out into the world. As we venture forth, one thing I keep hearing is how out of practice we are for social interaction. For some ‘the awkward’ is real.
The truth is that we are not the same as we were before the pandemic. All of us were affected. For some, the pandemic cost us people that we loved and respected. It is hard to know what acquaintances or colleagues really experienced in the past 15 months. Whatever your experience, the same small talk and social lubrication that worked before may not work now.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourselves and others settle in to this new normal.
- Embrace the awkward. You are definitely not the only person feeling this.
- Listen for the breaths. Everyone around you is breathing. If you focus on listening to their breath, really taking it in, you will feel more connected to the conversation. This will in turn help them connect to you.
- Scrap the small talk. Instead, ask something real. If you really want to know if someone enjoyed their weekend, go for it. But, don’t just ask because it seems safe.
- Acknowledge the hard. If you are really struggling to manage conversations and a higher frequency of in-person interactions — just say so. You will find that this is an experience that many people can speak to right now.
Focusing on the breath also has a beneficial effect on the function of the vagus nerve. Here is a link to more information on how the vagus nerve relates to voice and the emotional context within it.
Do your interactions with others seem overwhelming right now? No need to suffer it alone. I am happy to pop on a consult call to see if I can provide a quick assist. Have a great week.
Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 18 years of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.