Yes, it’s about Donald Trump again. His latest comments about women are disgusting. Period. Looking through the lens of presentation skills, there is something here that everyone can learn from when it comes to making an apology, public or otherwise. I run across this with clients when I’m doing media training. It’s the “I don’t want to apologize but I’m supposed to so I’m going to ‘backdoor it'” strategy. People who adopt this strategy feel an apology is beneath them.
If you have chosen to take the high road then good for you! The next step is to apologize fully and completely. Be sincere, don’t blame or deflect onto someone else (Bill Clinton on the golf course) and don’t ever use the word ‘if’ as in “I apologize IF anyone was offended”. That’s not an apology. It doesn’t fix anything, it’s insincere, everyone knows you don’t mean it and that just makes your situation worse. It’s right up there with “I really love you but…”. When you hear that you know the next phrase out of the mouth of your loved one won’t be loving, right?
If you want to see an example of an apology that was well done, look up Michael McCain’s on YouTube after the listeria outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods. Watch his face carefully, watch where he swallows after telling Canadians how sorry he was for the loss of life and loss of trust. The apology was offered in words and through body language.
We communicate through words and body language. In fact, 55% of how we feel about communication is based on how someone looks (38% is based on how we sound and 7% on content).
When you are truly sorry there is no ‘if’ about it.