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As a leading communication skills development firm, The Ammerman Experience pioneered a wide range of interactive workshops and training sessions designed to show people how to face the media, manage crisis situations, speak at public meetings, and deliver effective sales, analyst, and other business related presentations. Through our quarterly newsletter, the Advisor, we share some of our expertise in these areas.

Is it OK to Use Emojis in a Business Presentation?

Published: Jun 08, 2016

A few years ago, putting emojis – smiley faces, frowny faces, etc. – in a business presentation would have probably led to a stern talking to by your CEO. Today, depending on your audience, using emojis in business presentations isn’t frowny-faced upon quite as much.

This is not to say that it’s something you should do in a presentation often. In fact, using emojis at all depends entirely on your audience and your subject matter. If you’re speaking in front of a room of business professionals about the benefits of social media, it would probably be acceptable on occasion. However, if you’re speaking to the same room about a serious business matter, you wouldn’t want to use a broken heart emoji if stocks are down.

It’s a very thin line you’re walking right now. New technology has brought emojis into the business world. There’s even an entire movie about emojis starring Sir Patrick Stewart. Understanding their usefulness is essential. Understanding when and where to use them, even more so.

Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you think about putting emojis in business presentations.

Know Where You Are and Your Situation

Before flooding your presentation with emojis, carefully consider the situation, the people who will be there to receive it, and the overall tone of your presentation.

If the presentation involves a serious matter, emojis more than likely wouldn’t not be appropriate. Keep in mind, however, there are times when you might be able to slip a sad-face emoji in your presentation to help soften a harsh point, just to let everyone know you’re disappointed as well.

Restrict yourself from using emojis if you don’t know your audience if the presentation is very business-like. On the other hand, if you’re giving a presentation that is a little lighter in nature, or you know your audience will be younger and therefore more likely to use emojis, then you can probably get away with using them – but still do so sparingly.

Practice discretion

Regardless of the situation, emojis should never be used to totally replace actual words; they are only meant to add a bit of emotion to your message. Having 20 to 100 different emojis in business presentations can lead to your credibility taking a major hit. On top of that, it comes across as very amateurish and even childish.

Think of it like adding salt to tomato sauce – a pinch or two works well while a handful ruins it. Same with emojis in business presentations. It requires a light touch.

If You Don’t Understand the Emoji, Don’t Use It

For the most part, all of the emojis look innocent enough. Even the poop emoji – and we all have seen it – can look rather innocent, although crude. For many of the emojis, though, there are multiple meanings and entendres.

You don’t want to experiment with new emojis when you’re putting together a presentation, especially if you accidentally send the wrong message. It’s simple to use the smiley face, frowny face, etc., because they are universally understood. It’s best to avoid emojis that could be interpreted as flirtatious, anger, or romance.

If you have any doubts about what an emoji means, it’s highly recommended you don’t use it. However, if you want to research emoji meanings, you can visit Emojipedia.org to learn more.

Think of Emojis Like You Would Slang

Co-workers build a language of their own that includes industry jargon and casual slang, and using emojis is like using slang words. Emojis work best in casual conversations. However, when a presentation is important, certain emojis may backfire and give the impression that you aren’t taking the situation seriously.

Remember, what might cause a chuckle amongst co-workers may have the opposite effect with clients.

Think About Using Emojis in Business Presentations Beforehand

Remember, it is important to know how to communicate without emojis, so keep your writing and communications skills sharp. Don’t rely on an icon to describe how you’re feeling. Emojis can have their place in presentations, but consider them as merely an enhancement, not a replacement. To be safe, use them sparingly, wisely, and appropriately.

If you are still having trouble figuring out the best way to use emojis in a presentation, or if you’re just having issues with your presentation overall, the experts at the Ammerman Experience can help you. Our staff has trained people just like you to provide excellent and thought-provoking business presentations.

If you have any questions, contact us today to see just how the Ammerman Experience can help you achieve your goals.

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