- I’m going to be just a little late
- I just want to pick your brain
- I’m just following up on an email I sent to you.
Frankly, the word makes me uncomfortable mostly because of what it is intended to do namely “minimize” the impact of the question or statement to which it is referring.
Apologetic, weak and guaranteed to undermine and make whatever you are trying to do come across as less important.
Words count. Consider the same statements without using the word “just.”
- I’m following up on an email I sent to you.
- I want to pick your brain.
- I’m going to be a little late.
They’re stronger, right?!
All of these statements can stand on their own and don’t need to be minimized unless you are looking to soften your message. For example, “picking someone’s brain” in the attempt to gain advice or information can be viewed as a compliment (this person appreciates that I have to say) or viewed as a way to get out of paying for a service (as a consultant you might earn your income from providing the same information that someone is looking to get for free).
Regardless the word “just” is not justified!
The best advice is to eliminate “just” from your business vocabulary and present your statement in a more definitive manner. By doing so you will make a stronger and better impression.