Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Don't Explain and Definitely Don't Apologize

I once heard someone give the best advice at a career fair for teens. She said her advice was simple and once passed down to her by a longtime mentor. This something changed her professionally. This simple advice made her better.

Her advice:

DON'T EXPLAIN, DON'T APOLOGIZE.

This was especially important advice for young women in business who may have it already ingrained in them to feel apologetic and passive as young professionals. As the career fair speaker explained it: how many times have you started an email with "I apologize, I missed your call because I was in another meeting?" That might seem like an insignificant response but it isn't. There's firstly no need to say I'm sorry. Unless there's a bonafide reason to ask forgiveness for a serious transgression there's usually no need to apologize. I'm so sorry statements are pointless, passive and set us up to feel as though we're having to win back credibility. In a nutshell, skip the "I'm sorry's" whenever possible. 

Next, keep the explanation out of things and move on to solutions. One might try the following in place of our previous missed phone call example: "I am in my office, please call me to connect as planned." 

This statement gives no excuse and no apology. Might seem like a small unnecessary shift in communication, but the truth is we often apologize and explain ourselves all day long. To apologize chronically and explain ourselves is a waste of energy and unconsciously hurts your self-esteem. 


Wondering if you explain and apologize too much? Spend a day assessing if you do this and you may discover just how much you create excuses and apologize for it along the way. 

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