How to sorry for real? Sorry episode of The Allusionist is about more than just a word used to apologise, but about the act of doing so as well.
Sorry episode of The Allusionist is about more than just a word used to apologise, but about the act of doing so as well. Great episode to listen.
We are not trained in this.
SUSAN McCARTHY: I think we're not taught how to apologise, most of us. I certainly wasn't, and I think many of us don't get good examples when we're growing up, alas. And also, when you apologise, you put yourself one down, and that's just not fun. So people avoid it.
And there are few basic rules to follow, to make our sorries matter:
HZ: At SorryWatch.com, Susan and Marjorie have a handy six-step guide to making a meaningful apology.
Step 1 - seems obvious but amazing how many people forget it:
MARJORIE INGALL: Say the words 'I'm sorry' or 'I apologise'. 'I regret'? No, regret is about how you feel. Apology and sorry are about how the other person feels.
Step 2: Say specifically what you're sorry for.
Step 3: Make it clear that you understand why you did a bad thing.
Step 4: Be really careful if you try to explain what you did, because it's so easy for that to become an excuse for what you did. That also can mean just letting the other person have their say, and taking it, when they want to tell you what you did.
Step 5: Explain the actions to ensure that this will not happen again.
Step 6: And if there is a way to make reparations, make reparations.
And there is a difference in personal or institutional apologies:
LAURA BEAUDIN: There's definitely a difference in participant structure in a public apology, then in an interpersonal apology. In an interpersonal apology, you are the offender, and the recipient is the person who was offended. And so it's a straight line from you to the person you offended, or from the person who offended you to you. But when you get into public apologies, there are a lot of different participant roles. So in a corporate apology, for example, there's three speaker roles: so there's the author of the apology, which may or may not be the same person that committed the offence – usually with a corporate apology, it's part of a team that writes this. So whether it's your PR or communications department, along with the CEOs and lawyers, and often external crisis managers get called in if it's a really bad thing. And then you have the principal, which is who the apology represents, which in a corporate apology is basically the corporation as a whole. And then you have the animator, which is the person who actually performs the apology, and that's usually not the same person that committed the offence in a corporation.
I must revisit the episode, to reframe the insights and rules from it into some guidelines on how to phrase interface messages, especially when we want to apologise to our users.