Can This App Help Women Become More Empowered Over Email?
In Jennifer Lawrence's essay last year on wage inequality, the actress confessed she had once botched a salary negotiation because she was afraid of coming off as unlikable.
"I'm over trying to find the adorable way to state my opinion," she wrote in Lenny Letter. It was easy to relate to her, after all, who hasn't at one point worried about coming off as too bossy or too aggressive at the office? Inspired by Lawrence's determination, we suggested six things every working woman should avoid when writing an email. (Our number one piece of advice? Erase “sorry” from your vocabulary.) Now the CEO of Cyrus Innovation Tami Reiss is taking the art of effective email-writing to the next level. She’s created a new plugin for Gmail called Just Not Sorry, which, like spell-check, underlines in red all the self-sabotaging words in your email.
"We had all inadvertently fallen prey to a cultural communication pattern that undermined our ideas," wrote Reiss in an essay on Medium. "We run business and lead teams — why aren't we writing with the confidence of [those] positions?" Even though we're more aware of our email language than ever before, the truth is, sometimes a prohibitive word or two can slip through.
Could Just Not Sorry be what we need to become a more effective and decisive communicator? To find out, we put the new plugin to the test by using all six of our banned terms in a sample email:
While the plugin quickly spotted "sorry," "just," and "I think," it missed major red flags like "this might be a stupid question" and "I may be wrong."
Just Not Sorry may help curb our pesky habit of over-apologizing, but this app is far from the magical cure that will fix a working woman's tendency to undersell herself in emails. Maybe Jennifer Lawrence should get into the app-making business?
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