It was truly delightful to see the post that very successful business-building author and speaker Bob Burg created about something he calls a pre-apology. He explains it better than I will, so be sure to check out his post, then come back here.
I have gotten into numerous discussions and even a heated argument about using an apology in the course of doing business over the years.
"Never say you're sorry - it's a sign of weakness," I was told by several of my corporate technology sales managers and CEOs.
"Women apologize, men just plow through," said one of my alpha-male colleagues many times.
The funny thing is that I never did listen to them. Call me hard-headed, but even in my early twenties, I somehow was learning about empathy and how showing a little can absolutely change a situation from negative to very positive almost instantly. I have said "I'm sorry" in a pre-apology form as well as a plain old apology form for many years. It's part of who I am, and so while Bob mentions it as an approach, for me it is just part of the fabric of my being, and others whose style I respect. Here's why:
When you say "I'm sorry" it takes nothing away from you - nothing. It is not a sign of weakness - it is an olive branch. The minute you show some empathy toward someone you have opened the door to a solution. Here is an example:
In retail, frustrated people come in with broken things or what they feel are broken promises. Instead of matching their frustrated stance, simply saying, "you sound frustrated" after they begin talking - can set them aback.
It's like blowing someone a kiss after they flip you the bird when on the road. Try it! (ok, a bit different, but you are not matching anger with anger - will talk more about that sometime)
I've used the apology and the pre-apology in business situations and in heated family situations numerous times.
In his post, Bob references the saying,
A mighty person is one who can control their emotions and make, of an enemy, a friend. - from the Talmud
I'd challenge you simply to try this out - an approach perhaps - or which for me, is the only way to be. Post what happens, or send me a note at Score More Sales.