“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.