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The Art of the ...

The Art of the Apology

By Star Report 2 min read

By Nate Hamilton, VP of Sales - New Home Star //

This past week I received a business apology and only a day later had to pass along an apology to a customer. The apology I received left so much to be desired that I decided to do a little research on how to write a business apology. If you have been in any professional environment, or just been human long enough, you have probably had to apologize (or should have) for something. Giving out apologies is common in the new home sales industry, whether it be a land delay or a price increase, they can sometimes seem unavoidable. While the best apologies are accompanied with sincerity and humility, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a very real skill that we should develop in situations that require a very professional business apology, regardless of where the fault lies. So how can we as professionals working in new home sales, and any industry, craft an apology to the best of our ability?

First, from my research, let me point you to a website where I found a few good resources for particular situations that might be especially useful. Second, let me highlight what many sources agree are the basic components of an apology:

  1. What happened: Give a detailed account of the situation. 
  2. Impact: Acknowledge the hurt or damage done.
  3. Who: Take full responsibility. 
  4. Why you: Recognize your role or the company's in the situation. 
  5. Apologize: Include a statement of regret. 
  6. Empower: Ask for forgiveness. 
  7. Change: Promise that it won't happen again. 
  8. Repair: Provide a form of restitution if possible.

Hopefully, these steps seem obvious to most of us. I suspect those of us who have embraced apologies even find that some of our best customer, professional, and personal relationships have been strengthened by a well-timed, appropriate, and sincere apology. A word of caution, don’t step on your apology. So often we feel the apology is unjustified and we use the apology to pass blame. If you find yourself explaining your actions within your apology, stop. Either don’t apologize or think through how you might take responsibility for some part of what happened. A manipulative or blaming apology is way worse than no apology at all.

Finally, if you are speaking on behalf of a company or client and may elicit a legal ramification to your apology, of course, you will want to reach out to your legal counsel in advance of communicating any apology.

I believe we are often judged by how we treat people in the most difficult times, and anytime we find ourselves apologizing I think we have an opportunity to distinguish ourselves through our caring approach to an apology. I hope this helps you think about the way in which you give apologies and further identify just how they may be received.

Originally published Jul 19, 2017 under Explore the latest topics, updated February 2, 2024

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