I don't think anyone likes apologizing. It's so full of many emotions from embarrassment to indignation. Then there's wondering how the other person will take it. Bleh. And it's not like we have many role models for good apologies. Certainly, in this overly-PC world, more people are saying "I'm sorry" more publicly than ever. And yet, few do it well.

A good example of an apology

That's why I was struck by this Tweet yesterday from one of my favorite companies:

Simple. Elegant. Sounds like them. Gets the job done.

We all have a tendency to be too brief ("Sorry") or overwrought (I'm sorry, blah, blah, blah). This one's just right.

Tips for apologizing

So the next time you have to say you're sorry -- and you know you will -- remember those "Gold Standards":

  • Brief.
  • Good word choice.
  • In your own voice.
  • Conveys genuine regret.

And whether or not you say so, any apology should be accompanied by a plan to get back on the path. Or, in this case, to create a maintenance plan that takes time zones into consideration. Apologizing is the first thing -- the courteous thing. What really makes people forgive is getting the job done.

(Here's part II of our discussion of apologizing)