I’m sorry but please stop using I’m sorry so much!
The habit of injecting an apology into every other sentence might seem harmless on the surface, might seem genuinely kind and considerate but it doesn’t come from a genuine place, is a nervous verbal tic that only undermines your authority and your confidence. It damages your credibility, your professionalism, your competence, your confident image. A lesson that I had to learn myself and that takes so much time to get comfortable with.
Most of us struggle with chronic over-apologizing which instead of making us look genuinely caring, confident and mannered, makes us look weak and submissive.
Find a way to say “Thank you” instead
Tweak your language to at least start with a positive!
Instead of: “I’m so sorry for the delay”
Use: “Thank you for your patience”
Instead of: “I’m so sorry for that mistake. I can’t believe I didn’t notice. Not sure what happened really…”
Use: “Thank you for that great catch! I’ll update that now!”
Stop apologizing for “Bothering” people
Apologizing for bothering before proceeding to bother is just a bonus bothering!
“Is now a good time for a quick question?”
“When would be a good time to ask you a few questions?”
“I know how busy you are, but I’d love your feedback on something. Is now a good time?”
Stop apologizing for Not Lowering your price
“Thank you so much for considering me. The reason why I do not work for lower rates is because I noticed people retain as much information from our work together as much value they < out into it at the beginning. It would be a waste of both of our time if I would offer this package for free. Not to mention unfair and unethical to the rest of my paying customers. We can definitely cut the hours and the curriculum in order to fit your budget, as long as we ensure you get some real value in the long run out of our collaboration”
Stop apologizing for Not Working for Free
Show interest and just state your rates:
“Thank you for thinking of me. This sounds like a great fit. My fees are XXXX. Let me know if that works for you…. Unfortunately I’m unable to take on any unpaid projects at the moment, but if that changes in the future I’d love to get back in touch”
Offer Pro-Bono alternative:
“I understand you’re unable to pay for this project. So the best fit for you would be someone who is just starting in the field. I know a student who is looking to gain some experience.”
Inform them of a new accreditation:
“Thank you so much for reaching out. So much has changed since C we last spoke. I’m actually now a licensed (…) and I am offering my services at (rate)”
Stop getting overly emotional in business debates
Instead of: “I’m sorry but I don’t agree”
“That’s an interesting perspective. Here is how I was thinking about it..”
“I know you worked hard on this, but I don’t understand some of your conclusions. Let’s walk through this together to try to figure out the best way to present the facts.”
Actions instead of Apologies
Instead of: “I’m sorry I wasn’t prepared for that presentation”
Use: “That didn’t go in the direction I’d planned/ anticipated. Here is how I’ll fix it.”
Empathy over the sympathetic “Sorry”
Instead of: “I heard about what happened. I am so sorry for you”
Use: “That must have been so difficult for you. I’m here to help if you need anything, including by doing..(XXXX specific action)”
Stop being sorry for something that doesn’t work for you
Instead of: “I’m sorry but this position isn’t working out for me anymore
Use: “Thank you for the opportunity. I’ve leamed a lot in this position. I feel that it is time for me to tackle a new challenge”
Don’t apologize for the qualifications on your CV
Instead of: “I don’t have an MBA. I am sorry”
Use: “I am aware that the position might require a bit more experience in this and an MBA. I would like to walk you through the qualifications and skills that do make me a great fit for this role.
Stop inserting “sorry” into every sentence like a nervous tick… whenever you feel insecure or uncomfortable and aren’t sure what else to say or you are just worried about not being liked by others. Over apologizing is bad manners because it ends up desentizing our listeners to when you actually want to deliver an honest apology.
Always be kind