Smileys and other emoticons are not always unprofessional – find out when you can use them, and still sound polite

Über Emoticons in geschäftlichen Nachrichten bestehen unterschiedliche Ansichten. Gezielt eingesetzt können sie eine durchaus positive Wirkung haben. Secretary Today zeigt Ihnen, was Sie dabei beachten müssen. Secretary Today steht für perfekte britische und amerikanische Korrespondenz, Gespräche, Telefonate, Geschäftsbesuche und sicheren Small Talk. Fordern Sie Ihren persönlichen Business English Trainer jetzt zum kostenlosen 30-Tage-Test an – klicken Sie hier!

One of the questions that I always get asked at seminars is whether or not you should use smileys and other emoticons in your emails or text messages. It’s something that no one seems to be able to agree on, and some people even get very aggressive about the whole business, claiming that they have "no place" in business correspondence.

Well I think those folk are being a bit old-fashioned. Overuse of emoticons can be seen as amateurish or unprofessional, but used carefully, they can add clarity to your message. They are certainly very useful in short emails or text messages sent via mobile phone.

Here are some ideas for using emoticons

Add a smiley when you are congratulating a contact on an accomplishment or personal event they have shared with you. A smiley shows that you are truly happy for them. Add a smiley, or one with a wink ;-) when you want to make sure that the other side doesn’t take one of your comments too seriously. Also, if you need to point out a mistake someone has made, add a smiley or a winky. If you don’t, you might sound impolite. It could even look as if you were pointing your finger at
the other person.

Here are the standard smileys with their meanings

:-) Standard Smiley (you are happy).
:) Standard Smiley for lazy people
,-) Winking Smiley. You are joking.
;-) Winking Smiley. See above
:-> Follows a really sarcastic remark
:-( Sad Smiley. You aren’t joking; You are not happy.
:< Very Sad Smiley.
:-@ Angry

A word of warning: Never use an emoticon unless you are absolutely sure the other person will understand what it means.

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