In this day and age, it is rare to see someone without their blackberry or iphone attached to their hand as an additional appendage. Our days are spent corresponding with people electronically and we spend less time interacting in person. I often find myself over compensating for the lack of emotional tone in my emails by using multiple exclamation points or throwing in the occasional emoticon. Which brings me to the question: Do these smiley faces weaken our professional integrity or are they actually necessary?
Emoticons have become a part of my daily vocabulary, but are they appropriate to use in the workplace? When it comes to business, I often find myself rewriting a sentence or offsetting bad news with a positive remark – anything to counter my one dimensional tone. I often think it would be less time consuming to just add a smiley face, but refrain in fear that it will be perceived as childish or disrespectful.
Emoticons convey a more casual tone and I think it is important to consider who your audience is when placing these happy or sad icons in an email. As a rule of thumb, I ask myself, “Would the recipient of this e-mail use a smiley or other emoticon themselves?” I think it is safe to say, when in doubt leave the smiley out!