Is friendly a the new style of professional?

My daughter was delivered by a veterinarian who jokingly compared me to livestock. Her birth certificate was signed in yellow glitter pen. And her 12-year checkup? The PA gave her a smiley for good levels 🙂

I wonder how the professionals of last century would feel about what we are seeing today. Would the majority be excited that “black or blue ball point pen” are not the only options for signing documents. Or would they be alarmed? And what about the scholarly writers of two centuries ago? Would they recognize the brilliance of using emoticons to set a tone?

Can I be friendly without coming across as unprofessional?

In business I often wonder where to draw the line between friendly and the straight-laced professional I thought grownups had to be. I want my writing to flow naturally, but at 32 years old I do not want to come across as an uneducated kid who needs writing lessons. You have to find your own balance, based on your personality and on the ___ of your workplace. Here is what works for me:

Writing with Emoticons – I have come to see a carefully placed emoticon every bit as important as knowing when to use an exclamation point. Sure, your writing will be sufficient without it. But they are a good way to convey the emotion behind your statement. … Use sparingly if you don’t want to come across and an eager, obnoxious airhead.

When using emoticons, I try to stick with the most recognizable. Smiley 🙂 and frowny 🙁 Many programs only display a few or no emoticons. And although many people will recognize a wink 😉 or a stuck out tongue :-p , I do not want to come across as a flirt. Of course, once I get to know someone (and they get to know me) I am happy to use more faces if it feels appropriate.

Salutation – I remember in second and third grade being told that the top line of every letter should start something like:

“Dear Name,                                                         February 8, 1989 “

I wrote to my friend Dear Josh , to my pen pal Dear Sergeant Samerra,  and to my Dear Mom. I had to call so many people “dear” that the word all but lost meaning. Fast forward 25 years. I choose my own salutations, dependent on the mood of my email and on how well I know the person.

Good Morning Name,   |   Hello Name,    |    Dear Name,   |   _______    |    Howdy from Texas, …..

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