Emoticons - Fast Forward MBA in Business communication

You've no doubt seen little "smiley" faces embedded in e-mail messages: They're cute, but cute doesn't necessarily fit in a business message. In addition, unless you and the receiver use a "smiley" web site to understand their meaning, those little cues can have mixed messages. For example, you might be tempted to use the emoticon:-X with a new client who asks you to guarantee nondisclosure. Unfortunately:-X can mean "my lips are sealed," or it can mean "a big wet kiss."

Recommendation: Avoid using emoticons and smiles except for casual messages to colleagues you know extremely well or to friends. Emoticons seldom add value to business correspondence, and they can be counterproductive.

Oops, I Sent It!

There are hundreds of horror stories involving e-mail messages that never should have been created or sent. In many recent cases of litigation for example, those related to tobacco, silicon breast implants, automobiles, and software individuals have created paper trails that have greatly helped litigants. For an example of problems associated with e-mail, check out the article about Microsoft in Newsweek.


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