How to Apologize Successfully
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.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.