Sorry Doesn’t Have to Be The Hardest Word
In the lead-up to Jewish New Year, and in the annual spirit of repentance, I’m thinking about who I need to apologise to (this time).
Handling an apology to English speakers requires skill and nuance. But knowing how to do it right can be an invaluable business tool.
So I’ll let you in on a secret – use apologetic language whenever you need to:
• say “No”
• deliver unpleasant news
• handle certain negotiation situations
This can minimize or soften a tough situation and maintain the goodwill of your English-speaking clients / investors / boss/ colleagues. And always try to wrap up positively.
1. Saying “No”
Don’t Say: There’s nothing we can do.
Do Say: I’m afraid we’re currently unable to fulfil your request (due to ..).
Let us offer you ABCD as an alternative.
2. Delivering Bad News
Don’t Say: We have a problem with our software. Don’t use it for the next 24 hours.
Do Say: Unfortunately, we’re experiencing some software issues. However, IT is working on this full-time .. Thanks for your patience/understanding.
3. And lastly – when you simply need to apologise – do it sincerely and without excuses, and you may just avoid losing that valued client / investor.
Don’t Say: This wasn’t our fault / We understand but we are out of options / can’t / won’t
Do Say: We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. We’ll do our utmost to ensure you continue to receive the best service from us in the future.
If you do it right, it’s never “Too Late to Apologise”.
Credits to Elton John (“Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word”) and Timbaland (featuring One Republic) (“Too Late to Apologize”)