How many times a day do you think you say “sorry”? If you totted them up, you may be surprised. Sometimes it’s more apparent in other people than it is in ourselves. I have one friend whose every second text message seems to include an apology — when absolutely none is necessary.
The problem is: How do you stop saying a word that so easily trips off the tongue, and has probably been the habit of a lifetime?
A good place to start could be a new email tool called “Just Not Sorry”, designed to help women “stop apologising” in emails. As part of their Female Founder initiative, software developer Cyrus Innovation has launched a free Gmail plug-in that scans email drafts to highlight words and phrases like “just”, “sorry”, “I think” and “I’m no expert”.
The plug-in is free to download (it only takes three seconds) and every email you write thereafter is reviewed for trigger words, highlighting them as if they have been misspelled, like this:
The creator of the plug-in, Tami Reiss, explained that she was inspired to develop the tool after noticing a group of successful women “softening their speech in situations that called for directness and leadership.”
Tami Reiss wrote on blogging site Medium: “When someone uses one of these qualifiers, it minimises others’ confidence in their ideas. Whether you’re persuading an investor to provide funding, announcing a change in direction to your colleagues, or promoting your services to a client, you are building their confidence in you. Qualifiers hint to the reader that you don’t have faith in what you’re saying. The last thing you need is to seem unsure of yourself.”
Our favourite part is that when you hover your cursor over the highlighted word, up pops a quote from a successful woman to remind you that you, too, are a strong woman who doesn’t need to be apologising for anything. One example is from women’s leadership expert Tara Sophia Mohr, which reads: “‘Just’ demeans what you have to say. ‘Just’ shrinks your power. It’s time to say goodbye to the justs.”
The plug-in launched last week and has already been downloaded more than 27,000 times — surpassing Reiss’s expectations — and the user feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One reviewer wrote: “This app prevented me from needlessly writing I am sorry in six emails today alone. LOVE IT. Thank you. #sorrynotsorry.”
Visit Just Not Sorry to download the plug-in and to pledge to send better emails in 2016.