Everything You Need to Know to Be an Emoji Master on Slack

Slack has become the communication hub for over 169,000 global businesses. This rapid adoption stems from the platform‘s ability to centralize messaging, document sharing and task tracking for agile workplace teams.

But it‘s the integration of emojis that can truly elevate your Slack game.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to fully utilize emojis to maximize team connectivity, engagement and alignment.

The Vital Importance of Emojis for Modern Business Communication

Emoticons have existed since the 1980s, but the widespread influence of emojis on workplace conversations is a relatively new phenomenon.

As per a Baylor University study, over 90% of professionals regularly use emojis at work. Their increasing prominence correlates directly with the rise of remote work.

Emoji adoption statistics:

  • 81% of workers believe emojis improve productivity
  • 70% say emojis make communication faster
  • 65% think emojis make workplace culture better

Table: Communication With vs Without Emojis

MetricWithout EmojisWith Emojis
SpeedSlower text-basedRapid visual understanding
ToneFlat or misinterpretedEmotional nuance conveyed
MoraleImpersonalInformal and engaging
InclusionLanguage barriersUniversal pictorial language

This data signals that integrating pictorial icons can maximize the clarity, efficiency and enjoyment of online team coordination.

But why are these seemingly-playful images so intrinsic to modern business messaging needs?

The Origins and Standardization of Emojis

Emojis as we know them today grew out of a need to add emotional context to digital messages.

In 1999, Japanese mobile phone carriers integrated the first set of 172 emojis into devices. This allowed users a faster way to communicate common feelings that text alone could not capture.

The word "emoji" literally combines the Japanese words for picture (e) and character (moji).

The appeal for global standardization soon became clear. To enable cross-platform transmission, emojis needed to be mapped to a shared encoding system.

The Unicode Consortium fulfills this role by managing and updating standards for digital typography. In 2010, Unicode 6.0 incorporated over 700 emojis which later migrated to iOS, Android and subsequently, Slack.

There are now over 3,000 officially recognized emojis and the library expands with each Unicode update.

But why do they have such an integral role on a platform like Slack?

4 Key Advantages Emojis Bring to Your Slack Communication

While occasionally dismissed as juvenile or unnecessary, studies show emojis have the power to profoundly shape workplace communication for the better.

The visual nature enables workers to:

1. Increase Understanding Between Colleagues

Emojis reflect non-verbal cues like facial expressions and gestures that a typed message lacks. This makes the intent instantly clear. Workers are 5 times more likely to understand a message with an emoji than without.

2. Speed up Response Times and Decision Making

Replacing typed words with a visual metaphor accelerates comprehension. Teams with frequent emoji usage report quicker processing of information and tasks.

3. Boost Team Morale and Connectivity

Emojis inject humor and relatability into interactions. Co-workers feel more comfortable expressing themselves which fosters positive relationships.

4. Promote Inclusion and Engagement

Emojis provide a common dialect across language differences. This ensures global or diverse teams can participate equally.

Now that the benefits are clear, let‘s dive into specifics on how to access emojis and elevate your Slack messages…

Step 1: Locate the Emoji Menu

Like all platforms, Slack has a dedicated emoji keyboard containing over 2,600 options.

The emojis are neatly sorted into categories for ease of browsing:

Emoji categories in Slack

To open the keyboard, click on the grey emoji smiley face visible next to the message box:

Opening emoji menu in Slack

The icon will become animated, indicating the keyboard is ready for selection.

Now let‘s look at how to add these emojis to your messages…

Step 2: Choose Your Emoji Insertion Method

Slack offers two possibilities for working emojis into your content:

2.1: Type Emoji Shortcodes

Using text codes to generate emojis comes in handy once you memorize your favorites.

Here are some common examples:


To translate a shortcode into an emoji icon:

  • Type the code word/characters
  • Follow it with a space or punctuation to trigger rendering

This enables rapid-fire emoji insertion without leaving the keyboard.

2.2: Select Emojis Visually

For one-off uses or more obscure emojis, visually selecting from the picker is more appropriate.

To add a visual emoji:

  1. Click the emoji button to open the menu
  2. Browse categories or search keywords
  3. Click your chosen emoji to add to message

So to add a monkey emoji, you‘d:

  1. Open emoji menu
  2. Search "monkey"
  3. Select monkey icon

This method allows you to fully leverage Slack‘s vast emoji library.

Step 3: Use Emojis to React to Messages

Beyond your own posts, Slack lets you react to existing messages with just a click.

Reacting with a well-chosen emoji enables you to promptly convey:

🙂 Approval
😟 Confusion
❤️ Appreciation

To react to a coworker‘s message:

  1. Hover over message in channel
  2. Click reactions icon
  3. Pick relevant emoji

The emoji will then publicly display under the message as your reaction.

Reacting saves repetitively commenting "I agree", "Thanks" etc unnecessarily.

Step 4: Create Custom Emojis

In addition to standard options, you can design custom emojis tied to internal jokes, projects, values and more.

Custom emoji guidelines:

✅ File size under 128KB

✅ Dimensions of 128px x 128px

✅ PNG, JPG or limited GIF formats

To add a custom creation:

  1. Create or acquire an emoji graphic
  2. Open emoji menu
  3. Click "Add custom emoji"
  4. Upload image file
  5. Give it a memorable name
  6. Click "Save"

Now it can be universally used by teammates in messages and reactions!

Custom emojos make your digital workspace feel personalized.

Here are some ideas to represent your company culture:

  • Founder caricatures
  • Brand mascots
  • Office pet
  • Products/services
  • Mantras or values
  • Inside jokes

The visual possibilities are endless!

Emoji Etiquette Guidelines

While most professionals welcome emoji integration, improper usage can undermine your message.

Follow these tips when selecting emojis to avoid miscommunication or offense:

✅ Consider company culture and existing emoji usage

✅ Avoid overtly flirtatious emojis like kissy faces

✅ Don‘t overuse emojis or add to formal notices

✅ Ensure accessibility with screen readers where possible

Additionally, tailor your preferences around:

  • Default skin tones
  • One-click reactions
  • Emoji size/display

With some mindfulness and the right institutional culture, emojis can profoundly enrich workplace interactions.

Key Takeaways

Emojis have developed into an integral component of digital communication that signal emotional nuance and social connections.

On a platform like Slack that connects disparate working teams, they provide a rapid way to:

  • Convey tone and intent
  • Improve message comprehension
  • Speed up responses
  • Inject fun and relatability

Learning to access and use Slack‘s emoji integration can therefore significantly maximize team connectivity and workplace culture.

I encourage you to explore the techniques covered here – whether it‘s reacting with a quick emoji or even creating custom icons. You‘ll open new possibilities for fast, inclusive and enjoyable messaging with your colleagues.

What emoji might you use to celebrate conquering Slack communications? 🥳 🎉 😄

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