OK, let me finish the sentence, there are many places where it’s wrong to say sorry. In fact it’s a really bad habit and one I’ve noticed that many introverts have. There are, of course, times when it’s right to apologise, but you do yourself a disservice by apologising at the wrong times.
Don’t apologise for adding value
- Giving Feedback: If you apologise when expressing your views, you are diminishing your views and reducing their impact. If you were asked to give your view, or to give feedback (as opposed to unsolicited feedback, just don’t do that) why would you start by saying sorry? Whether you think your views will, or won’t, be liked they were requested. If they were requested, they’re adding value, so why start by saying something like “I’m sorry but….”. Saying sorry first doesn’t make you polite, it diminishes your point of view. A much better start would be to say something specific and positive, followed by the rest of your constructive criticism.
- Making more of your online meetings: It’s bad enough in face to face meetings, but consider the online meeting. In most online meetings there are a couple of loud people who hog the airtime and it’s hard to cut in. If you start by saying “sorry” when you try to interject you won’t be heard. Try a nice clear use of somebody’s name (the person speaking or who you need to address), then make your point. You are much more likely to be heard as you probably say sorry quietly, whereas we all tend to hear our names. More tips for surviving meetings.
The right time to say sorry
A number of years ago I was part of a new team of Area Managers. We had been brought together for our first meeting. One person walked in 45 minutes late, in the middle of the discussion, sat down, noisily spread himself across the desk and glared at us all. He interrupted the discussion and never did apologise (for interrupting, or for being so rude as to turn up late). That was just plain rude (it wasn’t a good example of leadership for our boss either, who never did say anything to him). There are, of course, many times to say sorry. Primarily when you’ve done something which has upset somebody and you regret that action. If you don’t regret it and you would do it again, you’re not sorry!
Introverts – stop saying sorry!
Starting a sentence with sorry is normally likely to make you and your views, less relevant. Respect yourself and consider why you’re apologising for holding them.