When is a GIF Reaction Appropriate in Business Chat?

When to Use GIF Reactions in Business

As part of Skype’s redesign earlier this month, an integration with Gyfcat now makes it easy for users to share quick GIFs within chats.

GIFs have been included in plenty of silly social media posts. But they haven’t exactly been known for having tons of practical business applications. This integration, however, will make it easier for business owners and professionals to share GIFs within business chats. So how do you know when it’s appropriate to do so?

When to Use GIF Reactions in Business

Richard Rabbat, CEO and founder of Gyfcat, recently shared some thoughts on the subject in an email interview with Small Business Trends. Here are some insights to help you determine whether or not your next business chat could use a good GIF to lighten the mood.

In Less Formal Business Communications

Several years ago, the thought of using GIFs in business communications may have seemed completely ridiculous. But times are changing. There are now plenty of business communication platforms, including Skype and Slack, that have created less formal environments for teams to send updates and messages to colleagues.

Because of that, short and seemingly silly content like GIFs have become more acceptable in certain environments. That doesn’t mean you should use them in ALL of your business dealings. But you don’t need to discount them altogether either.

Rabbat explains, “With the advent of platforms like Slack, which aim to make business communication informal and fun, there’s been increased adoption of GIFs in work communication.”

Within Your Team as Opposed to with a Brand New Client

Of course, the choice of whether or not to use GIFs can also depend on who you’re communicating with. For instance, if you’re speaking with a brand new client who seems to be pretty old school, including a silly GIF in a message might not be the best fit. But if you’re talking to team members who you’re fairly comfortable with, it’s a different story.

Rabbat says, “I’d say in internal communications, unless your company is extremely formal, GIFs are probably appropriate. Externally, it depends on who you’re communicating with.”

It’s All About Tone

The bottom line is, the decision of whether or not to use GIFs in your business communication will depend mainly on the tone of your message. No matter who you’re communicating with, you probably don’t want to include a GIF if you’re sending an angry note or a somber reminder. But if you’re sending a fun message, GIFs can help you more clearly convey that light-hearted tone.

Rabbat says, “Any time you’re trying to send a fun or light-hearted message, GIFs may be used.”

So the next time you’re considering including a GIF in a business setting, just consider the who, what and where of your message. If the person seems open to this type of communication, you’re sending a light-hearted message and you’re using an informal platform, GIFs just might be a great fit.

Business Chat Online Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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