Have you ever received an apology from somebody that sounded fake?  I know I have!  Depending on the severity of the screw-up, sometimes a simple “I am sorry” just isn’t enough.  Worse, an insincere (sounding) apology can sometimes make matter even worse!

In my opinion, there are a few steps to making an effective apology:

  1. Acknowledge your mistake.  This doesn’t need to be a long-winded explanation.  Something as simple as, “I am sorry I forgot to lock the door” will be sufficient.
  2. Next, inquire about the impact the blunder had on the person to whom you are apologizing: “How much damage was caused by the burglary?”
  3. Then explain yourself in context.  It is important to sound sincere and not defensive in anyway when explaining yourself.  “I knew I was rushing.  I could have paid more attention but didn’t.  Next time I will be sure to be more diligent.”
  4. Finally, ask the person how to make amends: “I want to help make this right.  What I can do to fix this?”

What do you think?  Have you ever heard an ineffective or a really effective apology that you want to share?  Please leave them in the comments.