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Control Your Emoticons

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what's an emoticon worth? Something as simple as a :-), :-( or ;-) can be complicated, especially when you're talking about business e-mails.

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This story appears in the January 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

E-mail software provider IncrediMail found that nearly 90 percent of 10,000 survey respondents have used an emoticon, smiley face or animated character to enhance an e-mail. For some, emoticons are still the mark of an unprofessional, lazy e-mailer. "It's like wearing shorts to a business meeting," says Jeremy Brandt, founder of FastHomeOffer.com, a marketing and lead-generation firm for residential real estate investors. "If you're lazy in your e-mails, are you going to be lazy in your business dealings, too?"

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