Last year, there was talk in the media about a new app released by Google called “Just Not Sorry”.
The Gmail plugin warns you when you are using words that undermine your message. I am the first to put up my hand to say that I am definitely guilty of this and am keen to change a habit that was obviously formed many years ago.
How does it work?
Just Not Sorry works by providing you with the opportunity to amend your message if it finds you are trying to qualify your message or using words that diminish it. A line will appear under the offending word or phrase, much as it would if it were a grammatical error. If you choose to send the message as is, the recipient will not see the word as underline.
Have you ever found yourself drafting correspondence on behalf of your boss and perhaps feeling slightly awkward about taking up the recipients’ time with your message? Awkwardly apologising for contacting in order to request payment of an invoice that is already overdue, or perhaps ever so politely requesting documents for a deadline which has already passed.
Why??! Why do we do it? Why do we tip toe around these subjects? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just write exactly what we want to say? “Hi, we’ve done the work for you. You owe us money. Pay the invoice”! Easier yes but possibly lacking in commercial value.
I think that’s the key here. Keep in mind the commercial value of your message. Does following up on an overdue payment add value to your employer? Yes! Are you asking for something that isn’t owed to the company? No. If the content of your message is adding true commercial value to your employer then you need not worry about the niceties. Be direct, get to the point and don’t apologise for doing so.
Installing Just Not Sorry may help tweak your written communication, especially if you are at the beginning of your career in legal and are keen to continually improve your skills.