When teams are working remotely and stress levels are high, it’s all too easy to miscommunicate. Even well-intentioned messages can be misconstrued. So how do you avoid sending a Slack message or email that could be interpreted as passive-aggressive? One option is to use an emoji, which can go a long way in signaling tone, meaning, and emotion. But be careful — too many emojis could undermine your professionalism. Consider your audience before sending a slew of smileys.

As a rule of thumb, try sticking to one emoji per message — unless it’s the very first time you’re communicating with someone, in which case, you might leave them out altogether. Also, be sure to spend a few minutes proofreading your message for typos, which are a not-so-subtle signal that you were in a rush or heightened emotional state when you hit send. Finally, read your message aloud to ensure that it’s clear and conveys the right tone. You don’t want to make a colleague unnecessarily anxious by saying, “Let’s talk,” when you mean something more like, “These are good suggestions, let’s discuss how to work them into the draft.” Putting a little more thought into the tone of your digital communication will make you the kind of colleague people look forward to working with.

To see how a Modern Observer Group coach can improve your communications skills, set up a free call here.