Yesterday I was contacted by 7 TV News to comment on what makes a good apology, the state of etiquette today and why we need manners. The journalist interviewed me for around 5 minutes, and of course only one sentence ended up on the news report which you can watch here.
It made me think, particularly about public figures who make mistakes but never apologize, or give a quasi apology – the kind that isn’t really an apology, as in “I’m sorry if you were offended” which does not admit to any blame and is in fact, not an apology, but a shifting of the guilt.
So why does sorry seem to be the hardest word to say in a genuine way? It’s an admission of guilt. An admission that we are not perfect. An admission of being human and fallible. An admission of weakness.
Apologizing from the heart is a sign of strength not weakness. It shows courage to publicly admit you were wrong. We lose respect for people who won’t apologize or admit they made a mistake, particularly when it’s very obvious that there has been a major transgression.
So what is the best way to apologize?
Admit you were wrong, misguided or made the error of judgement.
Say sorry and that you were wrong. Take the blame. Do so in a genuine and sincere tone of voice. Stop talking!