Emoticons in Business English Communications :-) & Some Business English Idioms

Let’s look at extracts from this Wall Street Journal article on emoticons in the workplace
and then study five idioms in the story.

As emoticons pop up in workplace email, experts weigh in

In the span of a few years, emoji—the smiley faces, hearts, flags and other smemoticonall pictures installed in most smartphone, email and chat programs—have become ubiquitous in digital communication …

More than half of workers say they have used emoji to communicate at work, according to a recent survey … More managers than workers approved of emoji at work, a finding that reflects research showing that small, playful icons serve a surprisingly serious purpose in managing the emotional tone at work.

Jacqueline Whitmore, the author of a book on business etiquette, advises gauging the tone of office communications before sending an emoji to a colleague. Allowing higher-ups to send the first smiley and only using them with familiar colleagues are both good practices.

Ms. Whitmore says it is also important to consider the recipient. A small picture of a winking ghost may build fellow-feeling among colleagues, but may fall flat among clients.

To play it safe, the best emoji to send is a variation of the smiley face. To be avoided, in Ms Whitmore’s view: anything denoting anger or romance.  “Learn to communicate without them, and use them only as an enhancement,” said Ms. Whitmore. “When it doubt, leave it out.”

(The above is excerpted from a story from the Wall Street Journal with the headline Emoji at Work: Managing With a Wink and a 🙂, written by Dahlia Bazzaz)

The idioms

to pop up – to appear suddenly or unexpectedly

to weigh in – to give an opinion

higher-ups – those in senior positions in a company; the bosses

to fall flat – to fail; to not get the desired response

to play it safe – to be safe; to avoid risks

Dining Customs from Around the World



I love this infographic showing different dining customs from around the world. A few notes on American dining customs:

1) Unlike in France, it is considered rude in America to have your hands on the table while eating.
2) Your napkin should be placed in your lap as soon as you sit down and remain there for the entire meal.
3) It is considered bad manners to take a toothpick and pick your teeth after a meal at the table.
4) Americans clink glasses with any type of alcohol. Those who have non-alcoholic beverages will also join the toast. Everybody says, “Cheers.” If the dinner is offered at someone’s home. It is polite to add, “Here’s to our hosts!” (Or say their names).



English Word of the Year Announced!


And it’s the “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji – named by Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year because it best reflects the “ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

It beat out competition like lumbersexual, on fleek, and the pronoun “they.” Don’t you love the evolving English language?!

The Face With Tears of Joy was the most used emoji in the world this year, accounting for 17% of emoji use in the U.S. and 20% in the UK. Move over plain old smiley face — there’s a new emoji in town ;-)!



American College Slang & Idioms

College students in the USA can be very creative with their English. Going to college or university in the United States? Just want to learn how American college students speak these days? This lesson on college slang and idioms is for you!

Download the PDF mini e-book on American College Slang


college slang_Page_2



Business English Negotiations

Business English has a rich language of negotiations. We’ve captured this language in our Business English books, Speak Business English Like an American and Speak Better Business English and Make More Money. For those who prefer mobile learning, we’ve captured the language of negotiations in the iPhone & iPad app Business English Negotiations. Check it out!negotiations-idioms