Should we use Emojis in business emails?

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Emojis are now often used in our communications with friends and family. Sending a cheerful face to people we are closest to is something we do without hesitation.

Emojis are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and web pages. They exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. They are much like emoticons, but emoji are actual pictures instead of typographic.

Emojis provide texts further meaning, comedy, and emotion. They provide flavour to text-based communications that might otherwise be boring. The idea behind the emoji is to provide a reaction when emailing, texting or messaging someone who can’t see your body language.

However, using emojis in emails to coworkers or other professionals is not always a smart idea; it breaks down barriers in formal communication and bring conversations down to a personal level.

Emojis can get lost in translation, since there isn’t a universal agreement on what specific emojis represent. This can cause confusion and disconnect between correspondents .

A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggested that emojis may not “increase perceptions of warmth”, actually make workers appear less competent and ruin their reputation as a qualified expert.

It must be said that on the most famous business platform, LinkedIn, emojis are used daily as reaction to posts or to congratulate your connections for a promotion rather than a job anniversary.

There is no definitive answer to whether or not using smileys in business emails is suitable because everything depends on context and there are certain guidelines to follow.

The essential aspect is the connection with the receiver. If the sender and recipient have never met or built up a relationship, smileys and emojis can appear forced. On the other hand, if there is a business relationship, a usage of smileys doesn’t hurt.

Another aspect is the age or mind set of the receiver. Emojis are a newer form of communication for the new generation. If the recipients are from an older generation or are very serious, the emojis won’t play a part in communication. It can make the sender seem less competent, simply because the receiver was expecting a more traditional correspondence.

Industries like Corporate Finance, Healthcare, etc are more serious and professional in their work environment and emojis may not be appropriate, instead in millennial’s startups are more appreciated and popular.

Emojis can have also a positive impact to release tensions in business communication. A laughing or winking smiley might reduce the recipient's negative emotions and lower the chances that they will take criticism personally.

Emojis are a great way to make your subject lines pop and grab your subscriber’s attention. But not in every case. Many clients have issues recognizing the email, because subject lines with emojis can be a cryptic mess. Also, emails containing special characters in the subject line such as smileys and emojis easily end up in spam, especially in the business environment.

In conclusion, emojis are not universal and need to be used strategically. They must never ever be used to when you have to communicate with your colleagues, clients, and bosses about important updates regarding your business or in serious situations like meetings.

The only time you are open to using emojis is when you’re trying to diffuse a situation, welcoming a new recruit, and only if the recipient has a good enough relationship with you. 😊

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