for a strong, fast pick-me-up
Here’s a good way to make an effective apology and smoothy move on to the next thing.
I saw a great example of the technique used during the coverage of Bledisloe Cup II at Eden Park – and it helped diffuse my anger at poor performance during the coverage. I’m talking about the poor audio quality at a crucial time when I really wanted to hear!
I enjoy watching the Rugby and hearing what the expert commentators have to say.
At half time Stirling Mortlock was talking with Kurtley Beale – but the audio was terrible and crackly and intermittent.
Then there were great slow motion shots of highlights and experts talking – but there was no sound. And I really wanted to hear what they were saying. I got very cranky.
Then they came back and host Scott Mackinnon gave a strategically swift apology – that, in my opinion, moved on smoothly to the action of the next thing.
Here’s roughly what he said. Note the smooth move on to the next thing – getting on with it.
We’d just like to apologise for the audio issues we had at half-time.
We have sorted them out. Let’s hope the Wallabies can sort out their second half as well.
Let’s go straight back to the expert commentary team.
Here’s why I reckon it is such a good example – and how you can use this technique too.
I often help business presenters be prepared with a “bag of tricks” to help them recover if/when things go wrong in a presentation. I also help organisations word and practise delivering apologies. Yes, at a top level, execs prepare for when things go wrong!
When you need to apologise, remember:
1. Your audience will usually appreciate an apology (even a brief one) if they have been inconvenienced. TICK TO THE ABOVE EXAMPLE.
2. Your audience likes to know you’ve take action to fix a problem so it doesn’t happen again. TICK
3. Don’t loiter or linger for too long on the negative – the past of what went wrong. The above apology seems to move from the apology to the next thing almost “in the same breath”. BIG TICK! I often encourage clients to move on in the same sentence (with a conjunction, joining word)
4. Have something positive to move on to. TICK. In a presentation – you’ll have some specially selected positive snippet of information to move on to after your apology.
Now, we can all use this simple apology model/structure. You don’t have to be a commentator in some major sporting event.
Just remember this simple structure or order:
1. Brief Apology
2. Brief Assurance of action taken to correct
3. Smoothly and swiftly move on to something more positive – with some linking words and preferably “in the same breath” or sentence”
4. Keep moving forward – get on with it.
APOLOGISE, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
Thanks Scott for such a good example of an apology!
My dissatisfaction dissipated. Plus, I got more than an just an apology from you – I got a great example of how to smoothly word and deliver an apology.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.