When meeting someone in person, body language experts say that smiling can portray confidence and warmth. Online, however, smiley faces could be doing some serious damage to your career.
In a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found that using smiley faces makes you look incompetent.
Contrary to actual smileys, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence, the study found.
This can have devastating consequences for your career. The report explains that perceptions of low competence, in turn, undermined information sharing.
Chances are, if you are including a smiley face in an email, the last thing you want is for your co-workers to think that you are so inadequate that they chose not to share information with you.
Formal workplace culture usually discourages these types of electronic displays of emotion. The adverse effects of smiley use are moderated by the formality of the social context and mediated by perceptions of message appropriateness.
Still, a rule of thumb when considering using emojis in work emails is to follow your boss’ lead.
Think about whether higher-ups are using emoticons and take a cue from company leadership.
Avoiding smiley faces and emojis is particularly important when communicating with someone who ranks above you. If you are emailing someone who is more senior than yourself then yes, stay away from emojis.
If you want to gain responsibilities and grow professionally, then show up professionally online and offline when it comes to workplace interactions.
As the report explains, “A smiley is not a smile.”