As every woman entrepreneur or businessperson knows, the way you present yourself in business matters–and the language used, whether in conversation, giving a speech or in written communication, is a big part of your self-presentation. Unfortunately, some common language habits that women often use can have a negative effect on the way you come across to others. That’s why entrepreneur Tami Reiss, CEO of software development consulting firm Cyrus Innovation, saw a need for a new browser extension that helps women write more powerful emails.
Reiss told Slate.com she got the idea for the Just Not Sorry extension when talking to some other women business owners one day. Because her company specializes in working with women-led companies, she had observed a lot of women business owners and businesswomen overusing qualifiers such as “just,” saying “I’m sorry” when it wasn’t warranted, and otherwise using speech that makes them seem less confident and effective.
Reiss and her team developed The Just Not Sorry extension, which is available for Gmail’s Chrome browser. Once you download and install it, just type an email, and the extension will underline in red any words or phrases that may diminish your power, such as “I’m no expert,” “I think” and “Does that make sense?” It also includes explanations of why these words should be avoided for more powerful emails.
Using the app for just a short time can alert you to language you may not even be aware you’re using that can have a negative effect on how others perceive you in business. The underlines do not appear in your sent email, and the app doesn’t change any words for you; whether you choose to do so is up to you. If nothing else, Just Not Sorry can be a useful tool for creating awareness of how you communicate and opening your eyes to bad habits you may not realize that you have.
Want to take it a step further? You can also download the app’s open-source code from GitHub and modify it by adding any other words or phrases that you tend to overuse and would like to use less often or entirely eliminate from your speech.
Of course, you don’t have to be a woman to use the Just Not Sorry plug-in. This tool could be valuable for anyone who’s trying to write more powerful emails. And because email is so essential to how we do business, it’s important for all of us to make our emails as effective as possible.
What words and phrases do you find yourself using too frequently, both in writing and in speech? What do you think about the Just Not Sorry extension?
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.