I was driving across the Napier-Taupo road recently, on my way to compete in the NZ 10km Kayak Champs. The stretch across the Rangataiki Plains gave me time to sit back, listen to some music, and do some reflecting. The stereo was playing k.d.lang, hymns of the 49th parallel, and a line from Leonard Cohen’s song Bird on a Wire caught my attention; “If I, if I have been unkind, I hope you can just let it go by.” Here we have Leonard wanting someone to let him off the hook without him having to take responsibility or do anything redeeming, and this got me thinking about the ineffective apologies I have heard over time. A couple of my favourites are “I am sorry you feel that way” and “I didn’t mean to upset you”. In both cases the implication is that the hurt party shouldn’t feel upset and should forgive and forget without the offending party having to do anything.
I have a process for giving an effective apology that I teach to my clients, and it’s one that they find very useful and at times has provided a crucial breakthrough in their relationship struggles. So I decided to write this up in the form of a guide titled “Three Steps to an Effective Apology.” You can get your free copy here
P.S. Once you have read the report, come back to this blog and leave a comment by clicking the Leave a reply button at the top of the post, I would love to hear from you.