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“Simply Not Sorry” – Gmail's New Plug-In

A new Gmail plug-in highlights words or phrases in an email, which undermines oneself or the message.

The chrome extension named “Just Not Sorry”, created by Tami Reiss, CEO of Cyrus Innovation, is part of an initiative to get at least 10k people, especially women, to stop diminishing their voice on emails and conversations. The plug in warns a user when the message uses phrases such as “sorry”, or “I’m no expert”, etc. Words will be underlined for correction with added guidance on how using the particular phrase is perceived. One can also chose to ignore the corrections and go ahead with sending the mail.

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An explanation box pops up when you hover over the underlined word, which tells you why you should consider altering the usage. Although the list of words and phrases the Gmail plug-in uses are not derived from a psychologist or an organizational behaviorist, words that contribute to ways in which one sabotages oneself, have been identified by a group of women leaders who are determined to help women appear fit for leadership roles. The code for the extension is open source – anybody can add frequently used words that cut a sorry figure or words that they are trying to put off from their messages.

Reiss hopes to help not only conversations via emails, but also issues people generally face in verbal communication.

In our beta testing group who has been using the plug-in for a few weeks now, we’ve heard some stories about how even when they aren’t writing emails they are more mindful about using ‘just/sorry/I think,'” she explains. “It happens when they text and also when they are talking,” Reiss adds, “We think of Just Not Sorry as contributing to the mindfulness around the use of the words.”

Although the app faced criticism at the start– some argued that the plug in needs to better understand the context before suggesting rewrites, this free Google app is becoming increasingly popular and has been downloaded over 50k times. Being relatively new in the market, the app has already raised awareness of “shrinker” words and has requests flowing in for expansion to outlook and other mail providers.

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