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Chinese emoji a double-edged sword in office communication

By Bai Ping ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-04-20 09:14:20

We know that in public speaking, correct use of gestures will help enhance our messages. Emojis that flourish in our daily non-verbal communication can serve this function too, if they are employed properly.

In recent years, I've noticed with amazement how emoticons and smiley faces have crept into my office life. Supervisors start the day with them as they issue instructions on social messaging app WeChat. Staff who are mostly in their late 20s and 30s respond with a wild variety of emojis that laugh, weep, blush or swagger. Even the secretary has instilled a personal note in her daily reminder to all for the submission of the next day's work plan, with an icon of a red rose.

At first I'd typed:) or :( to indicate what I felt in my e-mails and messages to colleagues. They worked like arms and hands in a speech that helped me emphasize a point or ensure what I said was not misunderstood. But the colons and parentheses have quickly fallen from favor, with the rise of emojis that best encapsulates the basic communication tenet that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Chinese emoji a double-edged sword in office communication

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