“Hi there – Sorry to bug you but I just wanted to share this idea with you. I’m no expert but I hope you’ll find it useful.”

If you’ve ever written an email like the above, there’s a new tool that can help you cut the fluff and write more assertive emails.
The email plugin tool called ‘Just Not Sorry’ aims to help women write better emails (yes, criticism followed, but studies show that assertive women are more likely to be seen as unlikeable or aggressive).

Like a spellchecker, the tool underlines words and phrases that belittle your emails: sorry, I think, just, actually, I’m not an expert. The tool could be valuable for anyone with an office job, especially young people early in their careers.

I’m a 27-year-old who looks like she could have graduated high school a few years ago. Writing clear and concise emails is an easy way to establish respect among my coworkers, helping them see me as one of their peers, instead of their teenage daughter.

Another way to tighten up your emails (or any business writing) is to delete unnecessary descriptive words (adverbs or adjectives like very, really, most). It’s an really easy way to make your emails very short and more assertive.

If you need to write a long email (more than about 150 words), use subheadings, space out your paragraphs and use formatting like bullet points, numbers, italics or bolding to clearly outline what you need from the email recipient.

How many times have you read an email and thought, um, now what?

Be sure to clearly state what you need from the email recipient (for example “Action: For your information, please set up a meeting next week, or please forward to the appropriate staff”).

An email that’s short and clear will get answered. So whether you’re a man or woman, manager or coordinator, intern or executive, take a minute to read over your emails with your finger on the backspace key, skip saying sorry and get to point this year.

– Nicole Wray