Woman in a Meeting

There's this language called "Woman in a Meeting" that is pervasive and vexing, and which I try to avoid at all costs. You speak the language if you are a woman and regularly pepper your work emails with "I'm sorry..." or "Just..." or "I may be mistaken but..." or "Does this make sense?" In other words, you start with your thought or opinion and then translate it into a "groveling apology for an unspecified error." In my experience, men in the workplace speak their opinions however they want and whenever they want. They never apologize. We shouldn't either. As a guide, here are the six things you should never say in an email, and here's a fun article with famous quotes translated:

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Woman in a Meeting: “I’m sorry, Mikhail, if I could? Didn’t mean to cut you off there. Can we agree that this wall maybe isn’t quite doing what it should be doing? Just looking at everything everyone’s been saying, it seems like we could consider removing it. Possibly. I don’t know, what does the room feel?”

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Woman in a Meeting: “I’m not an expert, Dave, but I feel like maybe you could accomplish more by maybe shifting your focus from asking things from the government and instead looking at things that we can all do ourselves? Just a thought. Just a thought. Take it for what it’s worth.”

“Let my people go.”
Woman in a Meeting: “Pharaoh, listen, I totally hear where you’re coming from on this. I totally do. And I don’t want to butt in if you’ve come to a decision here, but, just, I have to say, would you consider that an argument for maybe releasing these people could conceivably have merit? Or is that already off the table?”