“Hey, I think you need to recheck your work. “
Have you ever sent a message like this? That emoticon is supposed to be an angry face, though every browser and program will set its own definitions for how they are translated. Maybe you are angry, but is that really what you meant?
Or how about …
“I can’t believe you said that to the boss!”
The intention here would follow a joke, or light hearted jab at a friend who said something innocent to the boss, but who may not realize what she said was inappropriate. Without an emoticon, it could be taken the wrong way. Imagine hours passing before that individual had an opportunity to ask for clarification. A simple could have let her know immediately that you were only making light hearted fun of the situation.
Some People Claim It’s Unprofessional
In today’s society, everyone has a different idea about what’s proper protocol or etiquette for a wide range of things, including emoticons at work. However, more studies are highlighting that properly used and well placed emoticons can do a lot of good for inter-office and other communications.
Below are five ways you can use emoticons properly at work.
- For clarification. It’s not always easy to help someone understand what you’re trying to convey over email (at least emotionally speaking), and emoticons help with that. The difference between genuine sincerity and sarcasm is fine and emoticons allow us to establish the difference.
- Know your workplace. Some workplaces are more relaxed than other. It’s important that you understand not just the culture among your coworkers, but also the expectations of your boss. If your boss doesn’t appreciate emoticons, but simply accepts it when used among coworkers and not with clients or partners, and you use it with him or other executives, too, you might not hear anything directly from him, but you may wonder why you get passed over for promotions. You should check out an emoji list to determine not just how to type them, but what may be more acceptable at work.
- Don’t let them be a substitute for your words.
Some people become overdependent on emoticons because, well, they’re cute. More apps, programs, and browsers have a wide range of emoticons that are easy to use. When you begin relying on them instead of words, it’s time to step back. They should only be used sparsely.
- Avoid overuse.
I know this was mentioned in the second point, but it bears repeating. It you overuse emoticons, it’s going to be unprofessional, even by the most relaxed business environments. Be sure to not overuse them in any email, text, or chat window at work.
- Stay focused on saying things properly.
Using sarcasm may be your thing. It might be your default mechanism. However, this could be a problem in the work environment. There’s a proper and professional way to say things and there’s a wrong way.
Make sure you write your message without a reliance on emoticons first, then include them to help enhance the message, not the other way around.
When you follow these tips, your work emails will be more professional and effective at conveying any type of message that needs to be sent out.
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