Emoji Mix-Up Mimics Real-Life Communication Snafu

Do you use emojis? Emojis are those small digital images or icons used to express an idea, emotions, or feelings in electronic messages or web pages. They visually communicate emotional cues that are missing in typed narrative. Some people love them and use them a LOT. Others hate them.

Recently, I shared an article with a client on Facebook about building her business. I loved it. I thought it demonstrated the possibility for growth and success in her business. I thought it was industry-specific and would resonate with her. I anticipated a thumbs up emoji or a smiley face or a simple “Thanks!”

Imagine my surprise when I received an emoji with a red, angry face. Oh no! Where was the disconnect? I went back and reread the article to make certain I hadn’t missed something in it that was offensive. Nope!

Next, I decided to check in with her to see if the emoji accurately represented her feeling about the article. If so, I wanted to understand why.

Well, as you may have surmised, she unintentionally hit the icon. She hadn’t intended to send it at all.

But in that instance, when I received that angry emoji in a reply, I had a visceral experience. Suddenly, it felt like that emoji was a living, breathing being. Like, in a sci-fi movie, when an inanimate object comes to life. I even heard the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz say, “If I only had a brain!” and it felt like that emoji did have a brain! It spoke to me and impacted me on a primeval level.

I know. All this sounds pretty extreme. Usually, when I see an emoji, I look at it, I smile, and appreciate how it was used. But in that instant of getting an unanticipated response, I quickly had an ah-ha moment and gained new perspective about how powerful a simple emoji may be.

Face-to-face or verbal communication carries that same power. We often have a few more cues to hear or see the message being delivered. Rather than a simple digital image, there are facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures that help us interpret what’s being communicated. However, just like sending an emoji or inadvertently sending the wrong emoji, sometimes we trip over our words or our actions; and the message gets misinterpreted.

So, whether you’re communicating electronically, virtually, in-person, or by phone please remember to carefully choose your words, actions, and emojis to accurately convey your message, emotions, and feelings. Try not to send the wrong message. And strive to strengthen your skills.

Four skill-building focuses will contribute significantly to the power of your communication.

  1. Create a climate of open communication to elevate trust, motivation, connection, and commitment
  2. Design clear, concise messages with the receiver in mind
  3. Manage nonverbal behaviors to accurately communicate the intended message
  4. Listen carefully and actively; or for written communication, read thoroughly.

I work with business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and corporate professionals who are committed to winning in business, life, and leadership. They want to fuel their energy, drive, and capability to learn more, earn more, and master the art of creating endless, effortless success.

Understanding behaviors, building skill sets, and applying what you learn is the fastest path to achieving desired outcomes. Be sure to contact me if you’re seeking support, encouragement, and belief in pursuing that next level of success (in all that you do).