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Confidence

Don’t say sorry

“Sorry” is quite possibly one of the most pernicious words I hear in regular conversation. When used in its truest sense, a sincere sorry is lovely – both strong and vulnerable in the way in admits and accepts responsibility, or empathetic in the way it expresses understanding. These uses, however, are heard with woeful infrequency.

More often than not I hear sorry used as reduction term, as a form of pre-emptive verbal submission. We say sorry when we give an opinion, say sorry for asking for help, say sorry before speaking up in meetings, say sorry as a way to fill silences between sentences. On one hand, this compulsion can be seen as a throw-away word.  We have lots of those, little words we use to fill in sound space when our brains are working.  The danger of using sorry as a filler or an opener is that is has the same effect on our thinking as standing with our shoulders hunched and gaze low.  It diminishes us in our own mind.

Whenever I have heard sorry used as someone’s go-to opener when they begin to speak, it has never resulted in them giving the impression of confidence or competence.  This is unfortunate; one of the worst offenders in my circle of acquaintances is a remarkably competent man who gives good ideas and input.  Yet instead of presenting his thoughts and ideas fearlessly or with pride, he physically and verbally shrinks, peppering his phrases with sorry.

Don’t be sorry for what you have to say.  Don’t even think sorry for what you are going to say.  Don’t think or feel sorry for giving your thoughts voice or for “taking up” your listeners time.  Putting your ideas forward is an act of generosity, and conversation is an act of sharing. So share without restraint. You can be polite without being sorry, so for everyone’s sake, do so!

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About Lauren Sergy

Lauren is a public speaking and communication coach and professional loudmouth. She is the owner of Up Front Communications, a coaching and consulting service dedicated to empowering people and businesses through the art of communication.

Discussion

One thought on “Don’t say sorry

  1. I totally agree, and I would go further… I remember a sales trainer telling me to “never apologise, even if you are late for an appointment. Just get on with it and don’t draw attention to your mistake; in doing so you are giving all the power to the other person”
    In addition I think that there is no real or valid excuse for most of what people apologise for. If your late or you have forgotten something its too late to do anything about it. Far better to get on with things, never make the mistake again and show your worth in your deeds.
    Be positive, keep your power and don’t allow excuses or apologies to undermine your worth.

    Posted by Alex Joll | November 12, 2013, 2:44 AM

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Up Front Communication

Up Front Communication delivers high-impact training in key communication skills such as public speaking, persuasion, and presentation delivery. Let experienced speaker and trainer Lauren Sergy help you and your employees better your communication skills through challenging and entertaining one-one-one coaching and group workshops.

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