Tip #1: Say “I’m Sorry”

Posted on February 10, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

This is the first in a series of 25 posts based on my book Talking Points: 25 Tips for Clear, Credible Communication. This book is a simple tool with great reminders of some of the key communication points that are easily overlooked in our too-busy lives. Enjoy the tips, and send me some feedback as you use them.

Tip #1: Say “I’m Sorry”

One of the most powerful strategies for demonstrating responsibility to others is accepting it ourselves. We can diffuse other people’s anger and our own defensiveness simply by apologizing immediately when we’ve done something wrong.

Too frequently, rather than apologize our defensive tendencies crop up. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve witnessed someone make an obvious mistake and then spend the next 10 minutes to 10 days defending their choice! What a waste of time.

I learned many years ago that it’s easier for me to move on and course-correct if I’ll acknowledge the mistakes I make and offer a simple apology. People will forget the blunder if we acknowledge it and move on. But they’ll remember it for years if we foolishly try to cover it up or justify it.

When we acknowledge our own errors, we demonstrate to others that they can do the same thing. Rather than doing a bunch of posturing pretending that we’re all infallible (when each of us knows that’s not true), we can instead set the example of honesty and openness that allows for mistakes … and corrections.

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