How many times a day do you say or type “sorry” in your communications? I am so guilty of this faux pas. And I’ll add to this how many times I say “thanks,” “If you could,” and “let me know” too. I heard a great story on NPR with host Audie Cornish on how Gmail has tackled these qualifying words in professional communication that made me laugh out loud. In the story, Cornish interviewed software developer Tami Reiss who wants to get people, well, specifically women, to avoid using words like sorry.
To help people stop using these words, Reiss’ company, Cyrus Innovation, launched a plug-in that works on Gmail called “Just Not Sorry.” The program underlines such qualifiers so you can think twice before using them. It launched at the end of December 2015, and by January 1 it already had about 15,000 users. The idea for this plug-in came to Reiss after watching Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer.”
SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “INSIDE AMY SCHUMER”
DOUG MOE: (As Moderator) Do you need some water?
MANDY SCHMIEDER: (As Professor Sasha Baron) Yeah, sorry. That’d be great, but if you can’t no worries. Don’t worry about it.
MOE: (As Moderator) No, why don’t we just come back to you?
SCHMIEDER: (As Professor Sasha Baron) Sorry.
MOE: (As Moderator) Amy, can you give us a little background on the research you’re involved with?
AMY SCHUMER: (As Amy) Absolutely. I – well…
SCHMIEDER: (Professor Sasha Baron) Oh, thanks so much.
SCHUMER: (As Amy) Sorry.
SCHMIEDER: (As Professor Sasha Baron) Oh, no, no, I’m sorry.
SCHUMER: (As Amy) No, no, no, please – I…
SCHMIEDER: (As Professor Sasha Baron) I’m so sorry. I just thought that – yeah.
Yep. Go ahead and laugh. I did. And then I was a bit embarrassed. “We’re afraid of coming off as too strong when in reality, by adding them, we’re making ourselves come off as weak,” says Reiss.
I feel like we need Beyoncé to write a Just Not Sorry song. But for now, maybe I’ll just get the Gmail plug-in.
To hear the whole NPR segment, click here