Do you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” all the time? Let’s paint you a picture…
You forget to text your friend back. “I’m sorry”. You accidentally bump into someone at the grocery store. “I’m sorry”. You sneeze in the middle of a meeting. That’s right—”I’m sorry”. It’s a seemingly endless cycle.
Stop saying Sorry
Over-apologising can undermine your authority and negatively impact your career. It’s not just a hypothesis—studies show that women do apologise more than men. A University of Waterloo, Canada study found that women tend to apologise more often because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive. Tara Swart, neuroscientist and author of the book, The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life says serial apologists mostly do so out of habit, perhaps stemming from a childhood where they were made to feel wrong or fearful of punishment.
“Apologising when we have done something wrong is a real strength, but compulsive apologising presents itself as a weakness at work and in personal relationships.” It’s time for us female founders to kick the apology habit and take their power back using these simple strategies!
How to start sounding like a Boss
Step 1: Practise self-awareness
Start a log for a week and write down each time you say the word, “sorry.” You may be surprised at how many times you use the word without even realising it.
Step 2: Change the dialogue
There are times when an apology isn’t necessary. Some examples could include instances where you use phrases like: “Sorry, could you send me that invoice?”, “Sorry, I won’t be able to make it that day.”, “Sorry, could you repeat that?” or “Sorry I was late.”
As you become more self-aware, replace the word “sorry” with more appropriate words and phrases like:
- Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it that day.
- Excuse me, could you repeat that?
- Thank you for waiting for me.
Step 3: Be confident and intentional
Over-apologising doesn’t send a message of strength. Maximise your presence and contribution by being more direct in your communications. This will help you to be seen as a leader and trusted authority. By speaking more straightforwardly and clearly, you can showcase your skills and feel more confident in the process.
One technique that can help is a visualising practice called “mind priming”. Developed by professor Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School, the idea is to write or think about a time when you felt especially powerful, happy, or proud. By doing this before a meeting or presentation, you will perform far more effectively and be perceived as confident.
There you have it ladies. Let’s make a commitment to honour our best #BossBabe selves and stop over-apologising so that we can carry ourselves in a manner that exudes confidence and demands respect.
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