By: Stephanie Hayman, Marketing Manager at TSYS
It’s amazing how two little words strung together have the ability to not only undermine your persona, but inadvertently reduce your self confidence. ‘Sorry’ has transformed into a buffer of fluff that is subconsciously thrown into everyday conversation, email, etc. and half the time, we don’t realize how it’s incorporated into our daily life, both inside and outside of the workplace.
Apologies, when warranted, can be a way to empathize with others. When overused, they become a true detriment. Some may believe the phrase conveys a sense of overarching politeness, but in reality, more often than not, it is unnecessary. Think about how many times per day you use the words “I’m sorry” and instead replace them with “I’m not sure of myself.” Doesn’t that seem silly? There is no reason to link doubt with your statements or actions if there is no reason to. Instead of apologizing, using the following tactics will appear more bold and confident:
Meetings and Phone Calls
Sometimes, I catch myself saying “I’m sorry” when I speak up in the midst of conversation. Speaking your mind and offering your opinion is nothing to apologize for. Instead, try “Excuse me.” Automatically, the tone changes, and what you have to say will appear more important.
“Sorry, I can’t meet at 9am on Monday.” “Sorry, I’m not going to hit the 5pm deadline.” We’ve all received and sent emails with iterations of the above. Instead of apologizing, take ownership of your actions and say “thank you.”
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on Monday, but I am only available from 3-5pm.” “Thank you for bearing with me, I’ve had a rough couple of days. I will submit the proposal by 7pm.”
Sounds much better, right? Being authoritative and taking responsibility with confidence comes across much more effectively.
Instead of saying sorry without any context, I find this formula by Jennifer Davis very promising:
“Apologize for something specific to the person or people who were impacted. Acknowledge that you understand how your actions affected them. Explain where you were coming from without it sounding like an excuse. Now state an action plan for how you’ll solve any problems your actions may have created, and how you’ll act differently in the future.”
An apology is not always a sign of weakness; it can be used in a way that is powerful and impactful. Learn not to use the words as a security blanket, but when you truly mean them, and you’ll find that your confidence level and psyche will be turned around for the better. There is more than one way to accurately express yourself. Keep the apologies in a proverbial jar, and take them out when you really need them.