LinkedIn Influencer, Ellen Petry Leanse, recently published a post on LinkedIn about the word just. It’s a seemingly innocent word, but has a huge impact on how you execute your meaning.
Weak: I just wanted to say thank you for…
Strong and appreciative: I wanted to say thank you for…
Weak: I’m just following up…
Strong: I’m following up…
While I was in law school, I learned a list of words that should never be used. Words like: “obviously”, “clearly”, or “of course” do not belong in any law school classroom or paper- you will definitely get a verbal lashing for using it. If everything was so obvious and clear then why even explain? I have trained myself to stay away from these words and now adding “just” to it.
If you have read the article that I linked above then you will definitely agree that “just” doesn’t make you sound assertive. You may think you’re being polite or friendly, but in the long run it makes you seem insecure. I catch myself using it ALL the time, especially in emails. My goodness, “just” pops up everywhere, like an unwanted pimple. As soon as I take away “just” from any sentence it gives the sentence a different meaning. I suddenly sound confident, still friendly, but I know what I want and I’m going to get it, damn it!
The next time you write up an email or talk to someone be a bit more aware of the word “just.” Take it out of your vocabulary and see how well your sentence is executed. I’m still working on it, but I’m really enjoying the difference it makes in my emails and how well I am perceived.