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Conferences in Corona times - One Day Simulation Nr. 1 in Pictures

In our previous post (“Make it count! One Day Simulation HS 2020”) we already summed up the most important points about our first One Day. However, today, you could say we want to look behind the mask … or better, look at the mask?

Inarguably, we’re all very happy that at least one of two One Day Simulations this fall term could take place in person and one might even say, that it was a Conference like any other. There were lots of discussion, from time to time some laughters and a standing resolution in the end. Maybe with one little difference - suddenly, everyone had more than enough place for all their prepared material. And I gave it already away at the beginning, of course there was one very visual difference: the masks.

By definition, a mask covers a major part of the human face, what supposedly has a crucial impact on interactions. Through covering roughly 65% of our face, emotions are getting easily confused. A study shows, that especially the expressed emotions of being happy, sad or angry are especially hard to grasp without processing the mouth area. Those emotions then get confused with a neutral emotion.

As we always emphasize the importance of rhetoric, that including facial expressions, I wondered how wearing a mask in a Conference could affect the discussion – would there only be neutral facial expressions, and with that, dim discussions and a fast end as topics to discuss rapidly run out? Spoiler alert: they didn’t and I gathered some evidence that many emotions still were expressed – especially through strong eye expressions.

Tell me I'm wrong, but I’m pretty sure that this face more likely expresses a certain criticism with what was just said than pure happiness.

While here the simple rule “the wider the eyes, the bigger the surprise” probably could be implied.

Talking about surprises, pretty sure this moment was captured right when the delegation of France (on the right) called the delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (on the left) out on them being very vocal about financing, while they probably won’t participate in doing so. Spain’s reaction (in the middle) probably goes beyond being a little surprise, personally I would even use the words “being mildly shocked” over the very straight forward comment.

On the other hand, we could say that in general, body language had to make up for the missing half of the face, and especially hands and clear upper body gestures got to use to underline a point in a speech or a clear vote for or against a draft resolution.

To sum it up, masks may make the reading of emotions a little bit more difficult, however our participants adapted very fast to the situation and still put many emotions into their speeches.

Of course right now, as stricter COVID-19 measures have been introduced, our conferences and meetings are held over zoom. While reading emotions might not be hampered by masks, only seeing the upper bodies of other delegates in small squares on a laptop might bring some new challenges. Some of which we already learned about from Mr. Melchior Glatthard, a true master of rhetoric. If you’re interested in reading about them, come back on the 16thof December!

Last but not least, there’s just one last thing to say: a big thank you for the team that made the One Day Simulation possible!

PS: during the day, a few smiles could have been caught behind the mask, as the eyes gave them away. However, during our traditional “Zvieri”-break with donuts, with a lot of space around them, a few smiles actually came to light.

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