We’ve all been guilty of it…
Apologizing for something that was completely out of our control; saying sorry before sharing our opinion or trying to soften our position by framing it with a ‘I just think…’
In business and life you’re going to experience situations that may feel a little awkward: A client being late paying their invoice; someone not returning your phone call or email; even that friend that borrowed your favorite dress last season…
You may think that, by addressing these situations using phrases such as “I just” or “I was thinking maybe” and even “I’m no expert” etc, you’ll appear more likable, however, you could end up doing more harm than good.
Let me explain.
When you pre-frame your opinion or a question, for example:
“I just wanted to see how you were going with that invoice I emailed through a little while ago”
This can make you sound apologetic and even a bit defensive. At the same time it sends out the message that you are unfit for leadership….it’s harsh I know, but true!
So what would be a more direct, yet polite way of asking you say?
Try this instead:
“I wanted to follow up with you in regards to my invoice that was sent 2 weeks ago. This is a friendly reminder that our terms of payment are within 7 days, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me”.
Being succinct and to the point isn’t rude – it’s showing respect for the other persons time and intelligence. If you’re still concerned you may be coming across as a tad aggressive in your emails, try finishing it on a positive note for example:
“I appreciate your business and I’m looking forward to being able to work with you again in the near future”
Following on with this shows that, although they may be a little late in making their payment, you’re not angry and are happy to continue the relationship the them (as long as they do pay….like now haha).
Now I want you to test yourself… how many times are you saying sorry every day?
Have you managed to curb your behavior and now breeze through awkward situations like rain running off a ducks back? If so, how did you overcome the habit – Leave a comment below to share your story.
Being mindful of the language you use is the first step to changing the way you speak and think about yourself.
Your opinion matters.
Speak Up. Speak Loudly. And be proud of the person you are.
p.s. Need a little help breaking the ‘sorry’ habit? A new app has been created for Gmail called ‘Just Not Sorry” http://www.justnotsorry.com/ to help start changing the tone in your emails.