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Emojis as part of Business Etiquette

Think about the evolution of communication – from receiving communication via letters to talking directly with the person over a telephone; back again to writing letters but sending it via email and mobile text messages. Today Emojis are also replacing certain phrases and words. Everyone uses Emojis, but is there a place for them in business? Should you stick to Emojis only in your text world or can you use it as part of your email world in business?

Emojis have become a way of our daily communication between not only friends and family, but also as part of workplace correspondence, especially under Millennials. Using fewer words and replacing words with Emojis is used to communicate expressions and feelings. A frustration sometimes in business can be to communicate in the written word and failing to put emotion, a tone of voice or expression to it.

Although most communication devices, software or tools like emails, Skype etc. have the option of using Emojis to replace some words, we don’t know the wrong or the right way to use them when it comes to business etiquette. The use of Emojis is quite a recent way of expressing your thoughts and emotions, and there are no formal rules for using it in the business world yet.

There is some business etiquette though. Some studies found that the majority of senior management doesn’t really mind them being used while other studies found that the use of Emojis specifically as part of emailing in the professional sense, makes you look less competent.

The Mindspa Institute deals with the use of Emojis as part their Business Etiquette course and explains the do’s and don’ts. Consider the following don’ts!

  • Don’t assume that Emojis are universal. You might communicate with an overseas affiliate or supplier, and learn that they interpret certain Emojis’ meanings differently.
  • Emojis can make you look less competent especially if you communicate with an older recipient. Know your audience well enough before you respond with a bunch of Emojis.
  • Try not to use Emojis in emails and rather stick to using it in text messages. People use emails to communicate in business, whereas text messages are more for social use and thus the casualness of Emojis are more acceptable for communicating on that platform.

Ultimately the usage of Emojis with in the workplace depends largely on your organizational culture and the nature of your business. The more informal your work context the more open your recipients will be to the usage of Emojis. So the key is to know your audience but to limit it and maybe also consider only using it when texting.