Glaring incompetence is a no-no, a faux pas of the first degree so we like to keep it under wraps, particularly at work. We can all fool some of the people some of the time but it’s getting harder in the digital age.
In face-to-face communication, being flashed a smile by someone you’ve just met is typically perceived as warm and friendly. But now more than ever, we work and socialize with people we’ve never met – and may never meet – in real life.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a virtual smiley face should work just as well as a face-to-face smile. However, in virtual communication, a smiling emoticon is just not perceived in the same the way as a real smile at all, at least when it comes to communicating at work and among people you haven’t met before.
A recent study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal revealed that smiley face emoticons when used in work emails “do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence.”
The study was conducted by researchers based in Israel and the Netherlands, and included participants from 29 countries.
Researchers found that for someone on the receiving end of a work email, the use of a smiley face causes them to call into question how competent the person is. But here’s where it gets more interesting. For the person who is sending a work email, using a smiley face makes them less likely to include more detailed information in the content of the email.
How bad is it really though? There’s a bit of a silver lining in that if you already know the other person, then using a smiley face isn’t so bad. However, you’ll absolutely want to resist that smiley face urge for an initial virtual encounter, where the use of a smiling emoticon is a big no-no. The same is true if you’re communicating in English or in a foreign language.
Communicating in Foreign Languages
Perception is key if you want your message to be effective, particularly when it comes to communicating in a foreign language to an international audience. But no matter what type of message you need to convey, Responsive Translation has the team in place to get the job done. We provide translation, interpreting and review services for a wide range of industries in more than 150 languages.
Certified for ISO 9001, Responsive Translation is a full-service translation agency with more than two decades of experience helping organizations reach global audiences. For more information on our range of foreign language services, please contact us at 212-355-4455 ext 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.