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Learn How to Make a Genuine Apology

Learn How to Make a Genuine Apology

So you know you messed up. You hurt someone else, whether it’s a friend, family member, or significant other. You may have spoken harshly, teased someone insensitively, failed to follow through on a promise, or in some other way disappointed or let down someone close to you.

In the best-case scenario, you say “I’m sorry,” and that’s about it. But often we’re embarrassed and want to move on so quickly that we don’t make sort of apology that is going to help repair your relationship. A sincere, genuine, and deeply felt apology can not only a fix the situation, it can make your relationship even stronger and closer than it was before.

So how do you make a genuine apology and show that you really mean it? Let’s go through the steps. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of forgetting plans to have dinner with your girlfriend and went out with your friends instead.

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1. Use specifics when you say you’re sorry

Just saying “Sorry” doesn’t cut it. “I’m really sorry you had to eat alone” is much better.  It shows you’re not trying to avoid a discussion of what you did wrong.

2. Ask how the other person feels

Yeah, you think you know why she’s mad, but maybe you don’t have the full story. Asking her to share more of her feelings will make her realize that you genuinely want to connect and understand her perspective. This will make her feel loved and close, in spite of your mistake. Also, it gives you a chance to correct any assumptions that your action may have led the other party to make.

Example:

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You: “What were you feeling when I didn’t text?”

Girlfriend: “I was sad. I was like, he doesn’t care enough to even contact me. Is that true?”

You: “No, I love you.  I genuinely forgot we were eating together tonight. But I should have texted to check, since I forget stuff a lot.”

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3. You openly acknowledge the other person’s feelings

This is called empathy, and it means that you are trying to understand exactly how the other person’s perspective. Try to remember a time when you felt the same way.

Example: “I really get how upset you are that I didn’t remember to text you and that I keep forgetting plans. You feel like I was thoughtless and selfish. I actually felt the same way when I was waiting around for my brother to call me last week to hang out, and then he never did.”

Remember, this is not the time to bring up anything negative about the person to whom you’re apologizing. Definitely don’t say, “I know how you feel because you didn’t text me yesterday all day so I had no idea if we had plans later.”

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4. Show that you’re committed to change

Come up with a plan to address this situation in the future so it doesn’t happen again. You want to show that this episode has taught you something. You’re going to try to behave differently in the future, so you’re less likely to hurt the other person again.

Example: “I don’t want this to happen again, I hate seeing you so upset. How about we sit down on Sunday nights and decide which nights we are definitely eating together and then I can put them in my calendar?”

These four steps will help you express your regret and sadness for having hurt another person, as well as convey that you understand their perspective and are committed to not messing up in the same way again. Instead of a quick “I’m sorry”—which can easily turn into a huge fight, as you may have experienced—these steps will ensure that your apology ends up making the relationship more trusting, solid, and close.

Happy apologizing!

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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