The email mistake you're making that could hurt your career

You might want to re-think the decision to add that smiley emoji to your next work-related email as a study has found it might be making you look less intelligent.

Scientists from Ben-Gurion University said the virtual smileys don't do anyone any favours and are actually far away from creating a positive impression on the recipient.

“Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” BGU post-doctorate fellow Dr Ella Glikson said in a statement.

“In formal business emails, a smiley is not a smile.”

Smiley emoticons could be hurting your work-related emails. Source: AAP

The study used 549 participants from 29 countires.

In one experiment where participants were asked to read work-related emails from unkown senders, the scientists found that the emails with some smileys had no effect on the people reading them.

They actually found they had a negative effect on the perception of competence.

“The study also found that when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley,” Dr Glikson said.

“We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing.”

The research found emojis actually have a negative effect on the recipient of the email.

The researchers also found that when the gender of the email writer was unknown, people were more likely to assume the sender was a woman if it included a smiley.

“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” Dr Glikson said.

“For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.”