When it comes to sending emails in the workplace, do you use emojis? It’s become almost obligatory when texting friends and family but some fascinating research suggests that is may not be the right thing to do when interacting professionally.

The research I am referring to was undertaken by psychologists in Israel and in it they asked over 500 people from over 28 countries to take part in a study in which they asked them to rate the ‘warmth’ and the ‘competence’ of the sender of an email.

Now in some of the emails that they sent to these volunteers in the experiment, some had emojis and some didn’t but, when it came to rating the warmth or the competence, an interesting thing happened. Peoples’ view of the ‘warmth’ of the sender didn’t really change, it didn’t have a negative impact, but it didn’t have the same impact as a smile face to face would. But what it did when it came to the ‘competence’ of the sender, people rated those who’d sent emails with smiley emojis as less competent.

This could prove disastrous on a job interview application or sending an email to your boss or a senior member of staff or even to your team really – you don’t want your team to think you’re incompetent.

So, be very, very careful, as this research suggests that when it comes to professional emails, emojis are to be steered well clear of.

Links to the research will be on the website and if you’re interested and want to learn more about meetology®, the behavioural science powering world-class people skills, head over to meetology.com and sign up to get these Meetology Minutes every week.

I’ll be back in seven days, see you then,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Glikson, E., Cheshin, A., & van Kleef, G. A. (2017). The dark side of a smiley: Effects of smiling emoticons on virtual first impressions. Social Psychological and Personality Science