When You Have to Say I'm Sorry
Perhaps the two most magic words in the English Language are "I'm sorry."
And yet many people don't seem to have this phrase in their vocabulary.
Saying "I'm sorry" can:
• clear the air
• show your genuine concern
• eliminate bad feelings
• foster trust
• encourage honesty
• allow communication to go forward
"I'm sorry" can also do a great deal to assuage your own guilty feelings -
but that's a topic I'll leave to clergy and counselors. Here's what I'd
like to concentrate on: How can you use an apology to improve communications?
I've learned a lot of things about apologies over the years. Some of them
I had to learn the hard way - at great personal cost. But I learned them,
and I'm glad to share them.
• When in doubt, apologize. Saying I'm sorry" only takes a few
seconds and doesn't cost any money. What's to lose? It might make you feel
better. And it most assuredly will make the other person feel better. So
don't deliberate. Say it.
• The sooner you say it, the better. It's better for you, because
you'll stop stewing about it. And it's better for the other people because
they'll stop stewing about it.
• Better late than never. You may think its' too late to apologize.
Wrong. It's never too late to apologize. Remember: "I'm sorry" are the two
most magic words in the English language. They can work miracles - even
months or years after the fact. Indeed, a colleague once told me that a family
riff had separated his siblings for decades. Eventually, one of them said
"I'm sorry" - and normal family life resumed with surprising ease.
• Make an apology even if the other person hasn't noticed your mistake.
Maybe you think you can slip something past the other person. You’re right. You
might be able to hide the problem - but only for a short while. eventually
they'll find out about the mistake. So you might as well fess up now.
• Don't make excuses. People don't want to hear excuses like, "But
I don't have the time." or "But nobody ever told me." People want to hear
"I'm sorry," and then they want you to move forward.
• Make things right. Try to correct your error. Offer a little
something extra - a bonus, a refund, a small gift. Make the other person feel
"taken care of"... not "taken advantage of."
• Prevent future screw-ups. Try to figure out what went wrong,
and then fix that situation so it doesn't happen again.
• Don't say it too often. "I'm sorry" works best if you don't overuse
it. With apologies, frequently often under-cuts impact.
This is an excerpt from:
How to Write and Give a Speech: A Practical Guide for Anyone Who Has to Make Every Word Count
With more than 65,000 copies sold in two editions and recommended by Forbes
and U.S. News and World Report, this newly updated how to guide offers sound
advice on every aspect of researching, writing, and delivering an effective speech.
Filled with anecdotes, tips, examples, and practical advice, this accessible guide
makes one of the most daunting tasks manageable-and even fun.
Speaking coach Joan Detz covers everything from the basics to the finer points
of writing and delivering a speech with persuasion, style, and humor.
• Assessing your audience
• Researching your subject-and deciding what to leave out
• Keeping it simple
• Using imagery, quotations, repetition, and humor
• Special-occasion speeches
• Speaking to international audiences
• Using Power Point and other visual aids
• And many more
Updated to include new examples and the latest technology, as well as a section on
social media, this is a must-have for anyone who writes and delivers speeches, whether
novices or experienced veterans at the podium.
Click here to learn more.
More Success at Work Information:
• How to Excel in a Retail Job
• Techniques - Taking Initiative
• Conflict and Politics at Work
• 40 Time Mastery Tips to Be in Control of Your Life
• Techniques - Get Ahead by Faking It
• Boost Your Career With Networking
• What Does it Mean to be Successful?
• The Fastest Gun Rule
• The Power of a Positive Attitude
• Five Ways to Create Job Security