Some time ago, whilst training and mentoring in a large mentoring project for a multinational company for Portugal, Europe and Latin America, someone asked: “Anabela, as a leader can I use emojis in my professional communication? Is is correct? I reacted in a very calm and natural way as I don’t even question myself about emojis use. In any case, I had to answer the question – it was important for this leader to know. As I didn’t have an immediate opinion, I looked into the subject, studied and investigated and even discussed the matter in forums and exchanged different views with other people. Yet the question remained unanswered.
Making use of history and going back in time, today, July 17th, is International day of Emoji (oh yes, there is an international day)! The date was chosen by Jeremy Burge, creator of the Emojipedia databasde as it was the date that showed up on Apple’s iOS operating system’s calender.
Knowing that nowadays nothing is innocent, I seeked deeper into the visual representations of emotions, animals, travel, objects, among many other things.
I was able to understand a number of things a lot deeper while I researched. First of all, we need to understand our sensory modalities or systems of representation. These are the different channels through which we process the information, using our senses: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory. They also represent our preferred style, how we express ourselves in the world: our type of language, tone and body expression.
We all use the biggest three systems of representation: the visual, the auditory and the kinesthetic; however, the one we use most, the dominant will influence our communication.
Knowing this, I discovered that due to many factors, namely all the visual stimulation that we receive each day, the predominant and dominant system of representation in our society is undoubtedly the visual system.
I do believe that this information is historical and very old otherwise we would not give so much importance to hieroglyphics and cave paintings to this day. In a much more clearly and civilized way, we now have emojis.
Now back to the initial question of a leader communicating and using this symbology: From my point of view and after having done this previously elaborated analysis, I would reply with a great big YES! Yes, you should use emojis for several very positive reasons:
It makes communication easier;
Lightens heavier and more difficult situations;
Brings joy to communication;
Improves communication (especially with very visual people);
Generates empathy and rapport;
Serves to communicate our emotions (knowing that some are quite difficult to communicate).
As everything in life, the use of emojis is like an inherent balance, an elegance. I am not refering to a politically correct language, instead, I would point out a proper and discerning use. If by any means you have questions regarding emojis use, you may consult online “netiquette” manuals.
Considering all the daily communications I receive with emojis, I have come to the conclusion that: I feel closer to that person, I feel that I could see the person and I also feel that the message is more dynamic. That’s it: I feel it! It’s all said and done, isn’t it?
Get yourself “emojided”
You’ll see that your communication will gain a lot from it!