Here’s a tip: If you’re confused while trying to select an Emoji from rows of them, be very cautious.
You wouldn’t want to send the wrong Emoji to any of your coworkers. Or to your manager or company CEO.
It happens. Imagine sending an emoji you think is crying but someone interprets it as laughing hysterically. Depending on the message, it could cause quite an issue.
How to Avoid Misinterpreted Emoji in Business
“Make sure that your written words support the intended interpretation of the Emoji,” said Hannah Hicklen, a content writer and editor for Clutch. Clutch provides services for businesses, including advertising and marketing, mobile App development, web and software development and more.
Clutch recently surveyed 500 people across the US to learn about their Emoji habits at work. The survey uncovered that communications issues can be caused by improper Emoji use.
Clutch senior product marketer Emily Clark compiled the survey results. Hicklen said that Emoji use and understanding of Emojis varies by age group.
“There’s definitely a generation split,” Hicklen said. “The age group that most often uses Emojis is 18 to 29.”
“Even more interesting is that respondents older than 45 said that they felt that use of Emojis isn’t professional,” she added. “Some even said that they find use of Emojis annoying.
Avoiding Emoji Misinterpretation
Emoji are becoming part of a universal language. That is especially true for the most common ones. When using Emoji in the work environment, small business owners and employees alike should follow these tips:
- Know your audience. Of the 500 companies which responded to the survey, 10 percent don’t allow the use of Emojis in work emails. Make sure your employer allows the use of Emojis. Keep in mind who will receive and/or see your email.
- Match the other person’s style. If you receive an email or message with an Emoji, it’s probably safe to send one in return.
- Stick with the basic Emoji.
- Provide context. The best way to avoid misinterpretation of an Emoji is to include context. Use sentences that support the intended interpretation of the Emoji. Leave no doubt.
- Use for colleagues but not for clients.
Positives of Emoji Use
An Emoji is a face.
“It’s not the same as face-to-face contact, but it helps people feel connected,” Hicklen said. “I’ve been working remotely and haven’t seen coworkers for many months.”
“I’ve found that using Emoji’s helps keep the atmosphere relaxed, conversational,” she added. “We found in the survey that nearly half of all the employees were using an Emoji as part of a message at least once a day.”
Before using an Emoji, think about how you want to present yourself at work, especially to the person who will receive the Emoji. Maintain an awareness of the degree of professionalism which is required for the communication.
“We asked the surveyed people for real-life examples of when their Emoji’s had been misinterpreted,” Hicklen said. “In one example, the respondent sent an Emoji thinking that it was just a smile – however, the receiver thought the person was flirting.”
“Communication issues like this can be a big problem in the workplace,” she added. “The use of Emojis can be effective but there can be concerns about interpretation.”
“Know your audience, match the recipient’s style and stick with basic Emoji’s at work,” Hicklen said. “Most importantly, provide context to support your intended interpretation of the Emoji.”