TLAs, emoji, emoticons and business communication

SmileyWhen I first started in business a decade ago, I was still of the opinion that emails and other cyber correspondence should be formal, that emoticons and emoji (see Julie Bishop’s wonderful emoji face here) should be reserved for private text and email messages between consenting loved ones. Having commenced my office career in the 1970s in the legal branch of the NSW Department of Main Roads, and having been brought up by a mother who worked as a stenographer with the London County Council, being formal in my business communications was always second nature. (And can’t you just tell by this introductory paragraph?!)

Fast forward 10 years and I find that I often have to restrain myself from adding a smiley face to every second line in my business emails. Not only that, but BTW has become a common standard when I’m in a hurry.

WTF happened to me?

I’ll tell you. I let go. I stopped clinging to the past and realised that, as society changes, it was important for me to relax and change, too. I pick my audience carefully – if I’m not familiar with someone I’ll be sensible and somewhat restrained until such time as the relationship eases into its comfort zone, but generally speaking, most of my clients get the TLA + emoji/emoticon treatment in most of my communications these days. And why not? If it puts a smile on their dial, if it floats their boat, then where’s the problem?

My only problem is working out where to punctuate a sentence which ends with an emoji/emoticon. Smiley

Or, should that be:

My only problem is working out where to punctuate a sentence which ends with an emoji/emoticon Smiley.