Do you ever look at your emails long after you’ve hit “send” and cringe, not because of the occasional typo, but because your message reads more like an apology than a statement? If you’re a working woman, the answer is probably “yes.” Now, thanks to Cyrus Innovation’s new Chrome plug-in Just Not Sorry, we can catch those second-nature apologies and qualifiers before we email them, not after.
(Photo Credit: recoverling/Flickr)
The free app catches trigger phrases like “sorry,” “I’m no expert,” and “does that make sense?” and underlines them, similar to a spell-checking program. To take the sting out of the correction, Just Not Sorry provides hover-over hints sourced from Tara Sophia Mohr and Lydia Dishman, among other inspirational and unapologetic figures.
At Medium, Cyrus Innovation CEO Tami Reiss explains:
Because our brains are trained to see that as an error, you immediately go back to edit them. But they are spelled correctly! At which point, you realize it’s because the word is hurting our message.
We’re found in our beta tests that not only does this reduce the use of these terms in email, but it builds mindfulness to avoid them in all written and verbal communication.
One thing women shouldn’t do is beat themselves up over the “bad” habits revealed by the plug-in. Research shows that women are judged differently than men at work, and are perceived as more aggressive, less likeable, and less competent than men who exhibit the exact same behavior and skills. In short, if we apologize too much, it’s because we’ve been trained to communicate in ways that are more likely to be palatable to male bosses.
“…[P]art of me always cringes when people tell women that the way they speak or write is wrong,” writes Christina Cauterucci at Slate. “One reason why women have adopted these kinds of speech and writing patterns is because, historically, they’ve gotten pushback for appearing too decisive and demanding (read: just as decisive and demanding as men). Making fun of the way women speak, when they’ve been socialized for a lifetime to take up as little physical, temporal, and aural space as possible, is not productive and can further erode their self-confidence.”
In her interview with Slate, Reiss says that she feels both men and women need become more self-aware, with women realizing how their communication styles might be perceived by male leaders, and those male leaders learning to see past a different mode of expression to the substance underneath. For now, inventions like Just Not Sorry might help working women couch their ideas in ways their bosses, male and female, will perceive as strong and self-confident, and therefore worth listening to.
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