Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Using emojis in professional setting

Have you ever used emojis in your work emails?

I used to. All the time, either in my texts, non-work or work emails. I thought using emojis in everything makes the situation more relaxing and more friendly.

However, in a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found that using smiley faces makes you look incompetent.
Really? (shocked emoji, shocked emoji)

Emoji are being used more and more in our society. So the question is if you should use emojis in business or work communication.

At this moment, the answer is a no no for me. Of course, I don’t mean you should never use emojis, but maybe consider the situation a little bit more? Ask yourself if it is a formal case. Who are you sending this email to, your friends or your boss?

The smiley face might give people the recognition that, “Hey, what I’m saying is a joke.” And sometimes, emojis can bring misunderstanding between people. For example, what your boss means when he says, “If you do not finish this by tomorrow, I will fire you :).”

So does your boss actually mean it or is this just a joke?

The problem with using emoji in email is that you will not know how the other person will interpret that. You might think it is not harmful, but others might think it is unprofessional and you do not take this seriously. Young generation might find themselves more familiar with using emoji in texts and emails, but the older generation might not feel the same way.

Therefore, in order to avoid those miscommunication, try to consider if those emojis are appropriate or formal in different situations and if you should use them in a business or work email.

In one of the conference I attended, the speaker talked about the do and don’t when writing business email. One of the big don’t was not using any emotions if you are going to send it to a senior worker or your boss. From early on, I stopped my bad habit that I thought it was a good idea to make myself sound like a friendly and laid-back person.

In a professional environment, using emoji in emails is informal. I always made sure every email I send has a professional and formal tone in order to make the best impression.

Emoji is still far from a universal language. It is fine to use it to text to your friends or family members. But to your boss? To the person whom you are having a business with? You want to impress them? Maybe reconsider it next time you are writing a business email.

Email Hilly Nguyen at


(Watch the video on our multimedia page.)

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