Smiley emoji in your work emails are making you look incompetent :(On August 16, 2017 by Kenna
Emoji have invaded our texts, Slacks, and even our business emails. But, a new study suggests that including emoji in your work emails may be making you look incompetent. Not ideal, TBH.
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that professional emails which feature “smiley” emoji actually “decrease perceptions of competence” and don’t convey genuine “warmth.”
“Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” says Dr Ella Glikson from Ben-Gurion University. She says that in formal business emails, “a smiley is not a smile.”
In the study, 549 participants from 29 different countries were asked to read a work-related email from an unknown sender. They then had to evaluate the “competence and warmth” of that person.
The results suggest that including a 😊 emoji had a “negative effect on the perception of competence.” Oops. The study also revealed that email responses were “more detailed” and included more “content-related information” when smiley emoji were omitted.
According to the findings, smiley emoji are not perceived as the digital equivalent of smiling at someone, and aren’t construed as a way of communicating “warmth.”
“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” Glikson says.
A smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person, according to Glikson. And, she says that it’s “better to avoid” using smiley emoji for now.
Think twice next you fancy including a casual 😊 in your very important business email.