Leadership

How a Gmail plugin helps to stop you from always saying sorry

Ronelle Richards /

Do you find yourself constantly using words such as “just” and “sorry” when writing emails at work?

There’s now a Gmail plugin that aims to help individuals stop using language in emails, which the creator of the software says can undermine their message.

The plugin was created late last year by New York-based software development company Cyrus Innovation, spearheaded by chief executive Tami Reiss.

After downloading the Chrome plugin “Just Not Sorry”, every email written in Gmail is reviewed for trigger words and phrases like “just”, “I think”, and “sorry”.

Although the plugin was initially designed to help women, the plug-in aims to help everyone avoid words and phrases that undermine the writer’s message.

These words are underlined in a red colour that is slightly different to the Gmail spellcheck colour.

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An example email using Just Not Sorry

Reiss wrote about the backstory to the “Just Not Sorry” plugin on Medium, saying the colour choice was deliberate and our brains are trained to equate words that are underlined in red with error, which leads us to edit them and pay attention to future uses of undermining phrases.

“When someone uses one of these qualifiers, it minimises others confidence in their ideas,” Reiss writes.

“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.”

Users can hover the cursor over the underlined words which will provide an explanation of why it has been underlined.

Writing “sorry” will tell users that frequent use “undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership.”

Some of the words Just Not Sorry will flag are:

  • Sorry
  • Just
  • I think
  • Actually
  • Try
  • Does this make sense?
  • I’m no expert

The “Just Not Sorry” plugin currently has almost 40,000 users.

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Ronelle Richards

Ronelle Richards is a former SmartCompany journalist. She is currently studying a Masters of Journalism at The University of Melbourne and has previously worked as a journalist and photographer at rural newspapers.

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