What Emojis to Use and What to Avoid in Professional Chats

Have you ever used any of these Emojis in an email or a WhatsApp text to your boss? Do you think these are appropriate Emojis to use in professional communications?

Let’s look at what are the dos and don’t of using Emojis in professional communications.

According to the 2019 Emoji Trend Report published by Adobe, 61% of employees use emojis at work. 

Quite interestingly, 36% of them only use Emojis with people who are at the same level of career hierarchy. 

13% of us are using Emojis with anyone, regardless of the level.

These numbers will only grow, with more and more millennials and even younger generation people joining the workforce. 

Therefore, we have to admit that there is a place for Emojis in professional communications going into the future.

Whether you should use emojis at work or not depends on the context. 

If your workplace is very informal, emojis are most likely acceptable. 

But if you work under a regimental old fashioned management, think twice before you add that smiley face in an email to your superiors.

The problem with Emojis is that you just don’t know how the other person will receive and interpret them. 

Even bigger a problem than that, do you understand the meaning of each Emoji before you add into a WhatsApp chat with a client or a work colleague?

It’s difficult to give one by one recommendation on each Emoji out there on the internet, but as a general rule of thumb; always avoid the Emojis with angry sentiments.

Sad and grievance related Emojis are OK to use with a colleague at the same level as you are, but not with a superior or an external business partner. 

Now coming to the cheerful and neutral Emojis, there are few which are really ambiguous in meaning. This is where most people mess it up.

If you want to convey a positive, cheerful, or friendly sentiment, then use the slightly smiling face emoji. 

This is the safest emoji to use in communication with a superior or a client.

But never confuse this with the Grinning face Emoji, which conveys a sense of humor. 

You can WhatsApp your boss saying “Boss, the monthly target is achieved” and close it with a slightly smiling Emoji, but if you use the Grinning face Emoji instead, the boss may reply and ask “What’s so funny about it?”.

Another mistakenly used Emoji is Face with Tears of Joy.

Now, remember, this is tears of joy, not tears of sadness. I’ve seen people using this emoji in funeral condolence messages, mistaking this to be a grieving Emoji. 

You can use this Emoji when you are texting privately with the same level colleague discussing a work-related gossip, but never in a professional conversation where there are multiple receivers from different layers of the organization.

These are some of the other Emojis you should avoid using in professional conversations involving superiors or clients. 

Face with tongue

Winking face with tongue

Face with a hand over mouth. - This one essentially means you say something cheekily or sarcastically, and then says “oops!”

Now let’s see what are the Emojis you can safely use in professional communications, other than the slightly smiling face.

Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes is a safe Emoji to use in professional communication when you are replying for a compliment received from a superior or a client.

You can say “Thank you” and end it with a Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes, conveying that you are pleasantly humbled by the compliment received.

Thinking Face is a good one to use in professional WhatsApp chats in particular when you all are brainstorming for a solution for a problem. 

You can put an idea in question form for other people to review, and put the Thinking Face Emoji to convey that, you are also still thinking deeply about it, and not suggesting that everybody else must agree with it.

Face with Open Mouth also is a safe Emoji to use in professional communications, to express your reaction to something unexpected.

Well, that’s all from me. Do you have stories to share where Emojis went wrong in professional communications?

Share your stories as comments, and tell me about your opinion on using Emojis in professional communications.

Cheers, have a nice day!




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