Slip of the

yikes_sungaila.jpg

I said something really stupid a few weeks ago. And, really, I did it right. In front of a lot of people and with plenty of volume.

Yikes is right.

You would think that since I talk for a living (and write speeches for myself and *other people*), I’m pretty adept at choosing my words carefully. Well, I messed up this time! And I have messed up a thousand times before, and I will mess up several thousand times again.

With all of the messaging training I do, it’s pretty hard to knock me off of my key messages. That said, sometimes I really get on a roll and my mouth gets ahead of my brain. And YIKES INDEED.

We talk about complex ideas as advocates for donation and transplantation. We speak about liminal spaces, gifts given and gifts received, tragedy brushing up against hope.

This territory that we cover makes it easy enough for us to stumble. Do you stumble? Do you tell your story–one you have told, perhaps, many times before–and sometimes choose a weird/uncomfortable/odd/just plain dumb word or phrase? (You can’t see me right now, but I am raising my hand and saying YES I DO as I type.)

What do you do when you say something stupid?

I know what I do. I say I am sorry. I say it really, really well. And I mean it.

Not one of those crummy apologies “I am sorry YOU were offended.” (<ugh, this is the worst. Don’t ever say this. There’s no accountability there!)

NOPE.

Try:

I am sorry I said that. It was stupid. I feel badly that I hurt your feelings.

I am sorry I offended you. I made a mistake and I apologize.

I said something stupid and I have learned from it. I hope you will accept my apology.

I am not sure if we just live in a world where sincere apologies are so rare that we are shocked when we hear one, or if looking someone squarely in the eye and owning up to a mistake is something that died out with the Neanderthals (did Neanderthals apologize? I feel like someone should study this), but I am telling you: giving someone a sincere apology works. They accept it, every time.

People are generally quick to forgive. Even better, they will often say:

Yeah, I say stupid things too sometimes. I understand. Let’s forget about it.

So, I said something stupid. I said I was sorry (and I meant it). The world has kept on turning. Everything is okay. Today’s speech tip: Develop a sincere apology. Repeat as necessary.

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