So, can an emoji save lives, in like…30 seconds?

1 min read

The journey to effective communication is a lot like the path to solving a riddle. As complex as any conundrum wrapped in an enigma may appear, the answers we seek are often hidden in plain sight. And while context and new information are important, the best way to solve a riddle is usually to rely on what we already know.

The same is true for strategic and effective communication. Relying on the wisdom in simplicity is often the key to promoting better and more effective communication—for ourselves, our teams, and for the work we do.

Simple Refinements

One simple way we all can promote more effective communication is by refining our everyday speech. Refinement doesn’t mean adopting a British accent (“ello guvnah”) or learning a bunch of fancy words. Being succinct might actually be what you need to validate your credibility and bolster your messages. Lisa Evans offers advice on how not to mince words as she answers the question, “So, like, how can I, um, clean up my speech?

Organizations succeed at effective communication when the people in them focus on being better communicators and are intentional about bringing good habits to their teams. Members of high-performing teams, no matter the nature of the work, should be expected to persuade, motivate, and energize others toward action, decision, and change. Following Peter Economy’s 30-second rule can ensure that we’re not only delivering memorable presentations, but that we’re making everyday messages stick with colleagues, bosses, clients, and customers.

An Emoji is Worth 1000 Words

Effective communication is also about recognizing the limits of language and finding opportunities in fresh methods. Physical and digital expressions that can communicate a thousand words in an instant could make language irrelevant. When the stakes are at their highest, simple, effective communications which quickly convey critical information could save lives. That could be why these experts are working to uncover how an emoji could cut through language barriers and speed the flow of information.

So, can an emoji save lives, in like…30 seconds?

Does effective communication promote strong organizations? Are strong organizations the backbone of good government? Can good government save lives and change the world?




Amber McIntyre Amber McIntyre is the Strategic Communications Lead for HWC. She earned a masters in public administration from American University and has bachelor degrees in political science and religion from Florida State University. Amber’s years of global communications work with the U.S. Department of State have helped shape her interest in organizational culture, communications, and strategy. She loves helping individuals and organizations be more effective and authentic communicators.

One Reply to “So, can an emoji save lives, in like…30 seconds?”

  1. Interesting article! I completely agree, a message delivered carefully and deliberately, with clarity, is the most effective means of communication. Sometimes people belabor a point, or talk around something, or add unnecessary background or personal narrative – and all meaning becomes lost. The person on the receiving end of that message is just confused and nods their head. About the emoji — what limits communication that is boiled down to a single image is misinterpretation. If a symbol is something that is universally understood to mean one thing, then it is effective – but ones that mean one thing to one group, and another thing to another group, could dilute the clarity of communication altogether.

    Effective communication is the backbone of everything!

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