When we do something wrong, we need to know how to say that we're sorry

When we do something wrong, we need to know how to say that we’re sorry
Image Credit: Rina Pitucci

So when was the last time that you did something that you had to apologize to somebody for doing it? If you are like most of us, it’s probably been awhile – we don’t really like to go to the effort of doing the whole formal apology thing very much. However, as public speakers, if either we’ve done something or an organization that has asked us to give a speech has done something, we may need to use the importance of public speaking to apologize to our audience. What’s the best way of going about doing this?

Knowing That An Apology Is Needed

Perhaps we should start our discussion way back at the very beginning. Just exactly what is an apology? Generally speaking, when we are apologizing for something what we are really doing is telling someone that we are sorry that we offended them in some way or that we failed them in some way. We took an action that we should not have or we didn’t take an action that we should have. We all know what both of these situations feel like, we’ve been there, done that many, many times.

The way that this situation generally unfolds is that either we do something that we regret or a firm that we are speaking for has done something that they now regret. The first thing that has to now happen is that we’ve got to understand the impact that our action has had on the other people. This is generally pretty easy to do. We should be able to see it on their face – are they upset, are they avoiding us, or have they simply become angry with us?

Before we dive into just exactly how to go about making an apology, we need to understand that different people apologize in different ways when they feel that they even need to offer an apology. There are some people who are always apologizing. We need to understand that the people that they are apologizing to will not interpret their apology as being sincere. When you apologize, it’s going to have to come across as though you really mean it.

How To Apologize

The first thing that all of us have to realize that we shouldn’t even bother delivering an apology speech if we are not going to be interpreted as being sincere by our audience. The challenge that we may run into here is that sometimes even a sincere apology can be rejected by an audience. One of the reasons that an audience can reject an apology is because of the body language that we use when we are delivering our apology – does our body agree with the words that are coming out of our mouth?

The second most important thing that you are going to have to know is the audience that you are going to be apologizing to. Before you give your apology speech, take some time to know the people who will be in your audience. Make sure that you know what their viewpoints are and what they really care about. The one thing that you want to avoid doing is delivering an apology for something that they don’t really care about.

Finally, if your apology speech is going to be of any value to anyone, you are going to have to be authentic. Do you understand what you are apologizing for? Do you understand why the audience was so hurt and bothered by what happened? Do you really feel that they were treated badly? By being genuine in your apology you’ll be able to establish a tone of respect and concern for your audience. Make sure that you have a compassionate attitude towards your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

I don’t like having to do them, but there are times that either because of my actions or because of the actions of the organization that I am speaking on the behalf of, an apology to an audience is required and I need to use the benefits of public speaking to make this happen. When I find myself in this tricky situation, I know that I’m going to have to very carefully craft an effective apology speech.

The one thing that I don’t want to come across as to my audience is being someone who is always apologizing and who never means what they say. Instead, when I determine that an apology speech is required, I need to make sure that I come across as being sincere. One way that I can make this happen is by taking time to know who is going to be in my audience and what they really care about. Finally, when I’m delivering my apology I need to come across as being authentic. If I can make this happen then my compassion towards my audience will be felt by them.

No, an apology speech is never an easy thing to do. However, when a situation requires that it be given, then you need to be prepared to deliver a very good apology. Follow the suggestions that we’ve made and you’ll be prepared to deliver a great apology. Once you do this, everyone will be able to move on beyond the incident and start to work together once again. Isn’t that what you really want?

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think a good apology speech should be?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I speak English. Unfortunately, all I can speak is English. However, the good news is that I do a pretty good job of speaking English. Whenever I have an opportunity to hear a non-native English speaker deliver a speech, I often find myself starting to think that despite the importance of public speaking how they could have done a better job of using the English Language to get their point across. It turns out that speech and communication specialist Phyllis Thesier has thought the same things. She’s come up with a 5-step method that people can use to improve their English when they are giving a speech.

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We all need to understand that the tonality that we use has a big impact on what our audience hears

We all need to understand that the tonality that we use has a big impact on what our audience hears
Image Credit: Brisbane City Council

No matter how happy (or scared) you might be when you are asked to give a speech to an audience, you are looking at a lot of work to get ready from the moment that you say “yes” to the moment when you take the stage. Since you are going to have to go to all of the effort of creating a speech that you think that your audience is going to want to hear, you sure should have a good understand of what it’s going to take to make sure that they hear what you’re telling them…

Roger Love Knows All Of The Answers

Awhile back author Paul Sterman sat down and interviewed Roger Love. Roger is a celebrity voice coach who has become famous because of the musicians and actors that he has worked with. This list includes Keira Knightley, the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Reese Witherspoon and Jeff Bridges. In addition, he spends his time providing coaching to Fortune 500 executives and business leaders. Roger really understands the importance of public speaking.

It turns out that Roger is both a good singer and a good speaker. He’s spent a lot of time studying how we speak and, more importantly, how we can speak better. Roger believes that how we speak is made up of 5 separate components. These components are as follows: pitch, pace, tone, melody, and volume. If any one of these is not working correctly, then your ability to reach your audience will be in jeopardy.

One interesting point that Roger makes is that most of us speakers are probably breathing wrong when we are giving a speech. When we breathe through our mouths what happens is that air that makes it down our throats and into our lungs is dry air. The result of this is that our vocal cords can start to become dehydrated and then red and swollen. When all of this is going on, you can start to become hoarse and you may start to lose your voice. A better way to breathe is through your nose which will moisten the air as it comes in and keep everything lubed up like it should be.

It Turns Out That The Secret Has To Do With Tonality

It is Roger’s belief that most of us don’t take the time to speak either loudly or confidently enough. In order to really connect with your next audience, Roger believes that the key is what is called the tonality of your voice. Tonality is all about how you sound when you speak. It is Roger’s opinion that your tonality controls up to 40% of whether or not a person who is listening to you will believe what you are saying.

When you are talking with an audience, you are going to want to use a voice that both commands attention and conveys authority. Roger believes that when most of us speak, we tend to stay in the range of one specific pitch. You are comfortable there and so there you stay. The problem with this is that the people who are listening to you hear a monotone. When they hear a monotone they start to think that they know what you are going to be saying next. When this happens, they stop listening to you.

As speakers what Love thinks that we need to learn to do is to mix our pitches up. What you are going to want to do is to use the tonality of your voice to keep them guessing as to what comes next in your speech. In a way, this is almost how popular music works – it has patterns of notes that grab our attention and make you want to sing along. In our speeches we need to take the time to lower our voices when a pause or a stop is coming up. Likewise, when effort or excitement is happening in our speech we need to raise our tone in order to bring our audience along.

What All Of This Means For You

Giving a speech is never an easy thing to do. As long as we’re going to go to the effort of creating and delivering a speech, we need to make sure that the audience that we’ll be giving it to will get something out of it. In order to find out how to make this happen, we need to turn to a professional. In this case, Paul Sterman sat down and interviewed Roger Love who has a lot of thoughts on just exactly what we need to do to make our next speech be memorable and so that we can get the most benefits of public speaking..

Roger is all about how our bodies work. He’s very concerned about how we breathe: we need to breathe in through our noses so that the important parts of our speaking system remain moist. He also believes that our tonality, what we sound like, is what is going to determine if our audience remembers what we have to say. The key here is to not speak in a monotone.

The great thing about what Roger Love has to say is that based on the famous people that he’s helped out over time, clearly he knows what he’s talking about. His suggestions regarding our breathing techniques and modifying the tonality that we use when delivering a speech are all very easy to implement. Listen to what Roger has to say and work his suggestions into your next speech and see if that speech turns into a top 10 hit!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you can change the tone of your speech too much during a single speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So when was the last time that you did something that you had to apologize to somebody for doing it? If you are like most of us, it’s probably been awhile – we don’t really like to go to the effort of doing the whole formal apology thing very much. However, as public speakers, if either we’ve done something or an organization that has asked us to give a speech has done something, we may need to use the importance of public speaking to apologize to our audience. What’s the best way of going about doing this?

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