Sorry, I’m Not Sorry

Sorry

“I’m sorry, you go first.”

“I’m sorry, I need to grab something.”

“Sorry, can I scoot by you?”

How often do you start a statement with a quick, “I’m sorry…”?

This Pantene ad hits home how overused the phrase is – especially by women. In the opening of the ad, a woman says, “I’m sorry” before asking a question during a presentation. But there’s no need for her to apologize! She’s simply doing her job.

It may be that we overuse the phrase to avoid being considered rude. But saying “I’m sorry” too much doesn’t seem overly polite. Instead, it weakens your overall message and presence. And at times, it can have an even bigger cost. If you’re asking for deadline extension, additional resources or even a raise, the last thing you want to do is start your pitch with an “I’m sorry.”

Now’s the time to stop saying “I’m sorry” when you don’t need to.

Here’s how to get started:

  • First, become conscious of when you’re apologizing. “I’m sorry,” just like many other fillers, might be something you say without even noticing. Have a friend, colleague, or family member help you track how often you’re saying, “I’m sorry” over the course of a day. You could even try using this plug-in.
  • Once you’re conscious of it, intentionally stop yourself before you apologize. Do you really need to say “I’m sorry,” or can you just jump into your statement? Does using “I’m sorry” lessen the impact of your message?
  • Finally, instead of relying on “I’m sorry,” say what you really mean. Try it out in a low-risk situation – like the next time your order comes out wrong at Chipotle. Instead of, “I’m sorry, but I ordered the chicken burrito, and I got the steak,” drop the “I’m sorry.” Try, “Can you fix my order? I ordered the chicken burrito, and I got the steak.”

There’s no need to be overly sorry. Apologize when you need to, but otherwise, drop it. Be confident in your statements and take control of your message.

Adapt – Stay on Course

One of my favorite things in any race is when they show where racers should be, compared to where they are. They did it with Secretariat and American Pharoah (like the photo, above), they do it during the Olympic sprints, and we do it with ourselves and our yearly goals. … Continue reading

Heads Up, Phones Down

When I was at dinner last night, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I looked, people were on their phones. At one table, I saw a person talking to someone who was staring at his phone during the whole conversation. With 24/7 access to email, to Facebook, to Twitter, … Continue reading

I Don’t Need to Prep. I Can Wing It.

Does your calendar look like the above? Many do. Just yesterday I was talking with an executive about an upcoming meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, he realized, “Whoa. This is a way bigger deal than I thought.” This is a critical week for meetings, as we’re all squeezing … Continue reading

“So” is the new “Um”

You know to avoid “um” and “uh,” but what about “so”? “So” is the newest filler word on the block. It made it on this list of words that can sink a job interview, and NPR calls it a “weasel word” that can make it seem like you’re trying to … Continue reading

Typos and Airplane Trays

Ever flipped down an airplane tray and said, “Eeeeew”? If these things aren’t serviced, checked and cleaned, what about the engine? Am I safe? Am I taken care of? Makes you wonder. Just last week, we received an email to *protected email* that referenced Mr. Becker. Since my last name is … Continue reading

What’s Your Mindset?

One of my extracurricular activities for the last four years has been coaching soccer. Now that our team is U9 (nine years old and under, for those of you without kids), I’ve just about reached the final year of my pay grade. Until this point, the biggest difference in the … Continue reading

Emotion Earns the Extra Mile

For Father’s Day this year, my three boys joined forces and created a special homemade book filled with memories about what I meant to them. It was bound together with a little help from Mom, I presume. And they presented it to me while we were away on a family … Continue reading

Falling on Deaf Ears

We’ve all been there. Eyes glaze over, attention is diverted to the closest device…it’s that moment when you realize everyone in your meeting has tuned out. Your message is falling on deaf ears. We’re thankful that Chip and Dan Heath wrote the foreword for our new book, and in it, … Continue reading

What Does Your Face Say about Your Leadership?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard that. But what about the face you present to your colleagues or a potential group of investors? It matters, too. Leadership is not just how we communicate ourselves verbally, but visually. As a leader, your facial expressions can set, or … Continue reading