Women are in a ‘sorry’ state.

Nothing undermines your authority faster than the ‘s’ word.

Apologising when there’s nothing to apologise for?   I’m sorry (not sorry) to say it, but women can be the worst!

Remember a time:

…you approached someone in a corridor and dodged the same way they did.

…the elevator doors opened and others were already in the lift as you got in.

…at the supermarket, someone was standing right in front of the grocery item you wanted.

Instead of whoops, thank you and excuse me – you said ‘Sorry’ didn’t you? 

I have, many times!   It seems like such a harmless little word and the polite thing to do.   But if you look at the definition of the word and you become aware of how many times a day you say it (unnecessarily), it could be having quite an effect on your overall confidence and self-worth…and how others see you.

Looking back now, I realise that for years I had been walking around apologising for my mere presence in the room or my existence on the planet!   Like a dog showing its belly in a submissive display (uncomfortable metaphor that one) – I was offering apologies to colleagues, bosses, direct reports, even complete strangers when what I should have been saying was “thanks for holding the lift”, “I appreciate your patience”, “glad I caught you in your office, have you got 5 minutes?”. 

In my presentation upskilling workshops, we talk about ways to display confidence and convey authority when speaking.   The first way, is to stop apologising.  For instance:

  • Instead of apologising for technical hiccups – thank the audience for their patience.
  • If you feel flustered or lose your place, stop…breathe…gather your thoughts and move on.  (You are the only one who knew what you meant to say – an apology just draws attention to a ‘mistake’ that no one knew you made.)

I am now very aware when someone says ‘sorry’ to me in those chance social encounters in corridors, lifts and on the street – and it’s rarely a male.    I also notice when women choose another word, and think “you go girl!”.

I’m laughing as I write this, because I just caught myself thinking “maybe I should put a disclaimer at the beginning of the blog to let people know that these are my personal observations and I don’t have any hard stats to back up my claims”.  An apology in disguise!  LOL…I’m a work in progress.    

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