The Art of Change Skills for Life

Ideas. Insight. Inspiration.

How to Apologize Successfully

June 18, 2008 Persuasion 1

This continues my last post on apologies. Today I will share my view of the key elements of a successful apology as a part of essential communication skills.

If you want to apologize successfully, in order to end conflict and restore a relationship to a positive or neutral condition, you’ve got to overcome your urge to defend, explain and justify your behavior.

You may or may not regret your actions and choices, because they may have made sense to you at the time. But you can sincerely regret the consequences of your actions and choices. You don’t have to take the side of the other side, or even accept blame, but you do have to recognize the result and be willing to take restorative action.

Here is a recipe for a successful apology:

1. Speak to the importance and value of the relationship
2. Apologize for your impact rather than your intentions
3. State your desire to make it right
4. Wait for a response, and pay attention when it comes.
5. Hear and understand
6. Invite a fresh start on a foundation of mutual good intent.

An apology can be a restorative act. In a future post, I’ll talk about what the results are, generally, (for recipient and giver) of making apology.

Till then, do you have stories of apologies you would like to share? Successful apologies or those that did not go so well?

Change your mind. Change your life. Change your world.

Be well,

Dr. Rick

Related posts:

1. The Power Of Apologies: Victory From The Jaws Of Defeat
2. Flexibility Increases Your Persuasive Ability

 

One Response

  1. J.D. Meier says:

    Good distillation!

    It’s consistent w/models from John Gray and Dr. Burns (Feeling Good). Dr. Burns makes the point that you should find a way to agree with your critic, which takes the wind from their sails (whereas defending adds fuel to the flame.)

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