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Emojis Are A Thing. Here’s How To Get Started With Them.

Emojis Are A Thing. Here’s How To Get Started With Them.

For better or for worse, the pandemic normalised instant messaging at work. And the collaboration tools that helped us stay connected while working remotely added a layer of richness to our expression.

Extending this thought, emojis are arguably at the heart of that richness. According to Wikipedia “the word comes from Japanese e (絵, ‘picture’) + moji (文字, ‘character’).” These little picture icons are now a stock-standard feature of messaging and collaboration tools. They enable gestures, ideas and thoughts to be conveyed visually in a message.

Although I had no idea of the Japanese origin of emojis until recently, I’ve had some practice using them at work lately. They’re fun, witty and convenient. In my use, they often do a better job than words, especially when the idea is to bring some lightness to the dialogue.

In this thought, I give my take on some common emojis that help me connect with my colleagues at work.


The smiley face is easily a mainstay among emojis. It expresses delight and charm. A subtle statement compared to others in its class, it still holds the fort when it comes to showing acknowledgement or appreciation. However, if you want to express anything approaching humour, there are more fitting emojis for this.

😂 🤣 🤭

You’ll often find yourself wanting to acknowledge humour. This is natural. The laughing emoji combines the closed, teary eyes and a wide grin to good effect for this. Where the occasion especially calls for it, there’s an emoji to step things up. The rolling on the floor in laughter emoji will convey that you’re laughing uncontrollably.

To acknowledge humour in a somewhat restrained manner, you might consider the smiley face with the hand covering the mouth. It says, “I don’t mean to laugh!”

❤️ 😍

One emoji that shows emotion and vulnerability is the heart. Use it to say “this is heartfelt!” The heart eyes emoji combine this message with excitement to convey delightful eagerness. You can use this to say “I’m loving this!”


This versatile emoji suits when a moment calls for pause and ponder. It says “I’m thinking about it.” At a deeper level, it could also be used to say “This calls for a bit more thought.” It’s a polite way of conveying that you’re not yet convinced of something (or you still have some reservations) while showing openness to dialogue.

🎉 🥳 🎊

It’s commonplace that we will be celebrating things at work: an achievement here, a holiday there. And there’s no shortage of emojis to express a celebratory mood. The partying face will easily convey a keen sense of occasion. If you don’t want to seem overly expressive but still mean to show participation, you can use any of the other objects associated with partying, such as the party hat or the confetti ball.


See Also

Gratitude is a natural emotion you may want to express through chat once in a while. Of course, there’s an emoji for this. The folded hands (officially called the praying emoji) are widely used to convey gratitude and appreciation. They’re also used to say please.

👍 👏 🙌 👌

Emojis can also express validation and affirmation. One emoji commonly used to give the nod of approval is a thumbs up. Like others, its meaning derives from the real world. If the goal is to praise an idea or initiative, the hand clap or raised hands would better suit as they are ideal for applause. Yet still, you may wish to acknowledge someone’s brilliance. There is an OK hand sign for this. In one word it says “Perfect!”

Some situations present the need to request permission to speak from the meeting host. This is understandable considering the number of online meetings we’re having lately. To show some etiquette, use the raised hand emoji. The gesture acknowledges the role of the meeting host, while promoting decorum.

Final Thoughts

It’s probably worth noting that the vast majority of emojis are not relevant (or suited) to most work settings. That said, those that are relevant offer more than enough options for adding some fun, lightness and poise to our messages. And that’s a good thing.

Don’t worry if your emoji game feels sub-par relative to your colleagues. If it’s any consolation, I think mine is pretty lacklustre. The key to getting comfortable with emojis is actually using the ones you know. As you get confident and build that muscle 💪, you’ll grow your collection to a point where using emojis is an effortless dance 💃🏻.

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