So what does the dentist have to do with language? I recently visited one of the dental schools in the area. As I was waiting in the reception area a dentist came out in his suit with his mask partially covering his nose and mouth. He rushed out to say to another patient, “I will be with you in just a minute I have to finish with this patient first,” and then he beaconed to the woman sitting next to the woman and rushed off. He acknowledged her, but would taking a few minutes to take off that mask have improved the interaction?

Subtle changes in an interaction can give very different impressions.