Every time you use an emoji in professional communication, you’re playing with 🔥
What is an emoji?
‘Emoji’ is a combination of the Japanese words for “picture” and “character”. It’s a symbol used to convey a message or express an emotion. The communication style gives a reaction when corresponding with someone who cannot see you. Emojis are modern-day hieroglyphics and have advanced from the traditional emoticon.
Are Emojis Appropriate at Work?
Emojis are informal, so businesses use them to make conversations more personal. Yet emojis should be used with caution.
Although an emoji is a universal pictorial language, it can get lost in translation. What means one thing to a certain group, may mean something different to another. Some sectors are strictly formal so emojis would be frowned upon.
Words have consequences. Emojis do too.
Emojis have inspired lawsuits and criminal charges because of how people interpreted them.
Make sure you understand the business's stance on emojis before using them in messages. Although millennials are familiar with emojis, the older generation think people appear less intelligent.
(The same goes for Tattoos at the Workplace as well.)
Positives of Using Emojis at Work
- Personalisation - Expressing emotions using an emoji appeals to your audience’s human side. The symbols inject feelings into the message. They help to build relationships with existing and potential customers.
- Attention-Grabbing - The eye-catching visuals enhance the appearance and add emphasis to your message. Studies show more people interact with communications that contain emojis.
Negatives of Using Emojis at Work
- Misinterpretation - There is no universal agreement on what specific emojis represent. So, you don’t know how the other person will receive them. Even the skin tone you select could be perceived as ethnic misappropriation.
- Competency – It's commonly seen as unprofessional to include emojis in work communications. If your recipient is in a professional setting, using emojis make you seem less competent.
Using Emojis at Work
With the increase of millennials in the workplace (and widespread adoption of tools such as Slack ) emojis are becoming common at work. There are certain emojis that are frequent and can be used throughout your communication. For example: smiling faces, hearts, and hand gestures. Try not to litter them all around! Use emojis in moderation to stay slightly more professional. But using emojis at work depends on the context...
- For casual work interactions, it should be acceptable to include a couple of smiley faces
- If you aren’t very familiar with the person, it’s best to avoid using emojis
- When messaging new customers or clients you should keep your messages as professional
- If the receiver uses emojis then feel free to use them in your own communication to mirror their style
- NEVER replace a word with an emoji!
Think of it like a company dress code. Some companies allow their employees to turn up to work in jeans and a t-shirt. Other companies still expect their employees to arrive in a suit each day.
How do Businesses use Emojis?
Emojis can be powerful in marketing. Especially when the target market is millennials. An emoji can grab the attention of younger generations. But don’t throw random emojis at your audience. Also, make sure you know the meaning of the emoji before you use it!
Emojis add emotions to your digital conversations. They help to create meaningful conversations by clarifying the tone of the conversation. This helps prevent the receiver of your message from negatively interpreting it.
Instead of never using emojis because they may be unprofessional, plan ahead, and create an emoji policy.
- Which emojis can and can’t be used in business communication?
- What forms of communication are acceptable or unacceptable for emojis?
- Which emojis can be used on social media and for which type of posts?
- When should customer service integrate emojis and through what channels?