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You Really Need to Stop Putting Smiley Faces in Work Emails

You Really Need to Stop Putting Smiley Faces in Work Emails
From TIME - August 14, 2017

Smiley faces may seem benign, but typing them in work emails may be doing more harm than good.

In a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel wanted to find out whether including smileys in work emails actually has an effect on the message. ":)" really does make an impression, they found outbut not the friendly feeling an email writer may intend.

Instead, reading a happy face in the text of a work email made people think that the sender was less competent if the same message did not contain the emoticon, the researchers found. Even though smiles communicate warmth and competence in person, a smiley could make the reader less likely to share as much information in their reply.

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"Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys only marginally increased perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence," said Ella Glikson, one of the study's authors and a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, in a press release. "In formal business e-mails, a smiley is not a smile."

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