My friend and I met up for coffee at one of the local cafes. The waitress was new on the job and looked terrified when she came to take our order. She was so worried about making a mistake that she visibly trembled. I smiled, spoke slowly and tried to put her at ease (after all, we all remember how scary it is to be the newbie at work). The poor young woman must have said ‘Sorry’ at least a dozen times in the few minutes she spent writing down our order. I was tempted to tell her ‘My dear, you’re doing a fine job. Why are you apologising for no reason?’ but I didn’t. Because I knew why. So many of us feel compelled to apologise needlessly in our personal and professional lives. While it’s important to acknowledge one’s mistake and apologise wherever required, saying ‘I’m sorry’ too many times can end up making you seem weak and timid. Sure enough, her boss arrived at our table looking cranky and stressed as if wondering why it was taking so long to write down a simple coffee order.
Most of us use this word in our daily conversations without even realising it. By doing so, we’re sub-consciously handing over the power to the other person.
People take you more seriously when you appear confident. And one of the first pre-requisites of confidence is confident communication.
Reduce the number of times you apologise for low-impact errors. If you’ve genuinely made a mistake, acknowledge it, say sorry but then move on.
Contrary to what some people think, we don’t become more popular or more respected just because we are nice enough to say sorry repeatedly. After all, there’s such a thing as being too nice.
And too much of anything is not good.
As I always say, you are much stronger and smarter than you give yourself credit for.
So, start asserting yourself just a tiny bit from today itself…in your relationships…at work…in your friendships. Trust me, people will start perceiving you differently.
Nim Gholkar, 2018
Copyright Nim Gholkar 2018 All Rights Reserved