Saying I'm Sorry: Verbal Apologies 101
Saying I'm sorry is easy when you know what to say and how to say it. We've discussed the benefits of an apology letter so now let's take a look at how to say I'm sorry verbally and what you need to consider before delivering your apology.
One of the major differences between offering a verbal rather than a written apology is that you are NOT giving the recipient time to think about their response. Therefore, you need to plan out how you'll respond to their reaction, whether it's positive or negative. If you aren't comfortable with that, then maybe a written apology is a better option for you.
Just like with an apology letter, 'saying I'm sorry' verbally requires that you think through certain surrounding conditions to help you to determine the best approach for delivery.
Below are some basic guidelines on how to say sorry through a verbal apology whether face-to-face or by phone.
Apologizing in Person
Saying I'm sorry in person is a great approach to resolving an issue. It shows integrity, humility and a willingness to accept responsibility all while looking a person in the eye.
How to Say I'm Sorry by Phone
Saying I'm sorry over the phone rather than in person can be appropriate if either party isn't comfortable with confrontation.
Verbal apologies can be equally effective in person or by phone but again, both the circumstances and the recipient's personality should be considered. It's often the better approach, but it may lead to confrontation—depending on the seriousness of the infraction, the amount of pain it caused, and the recipient's personality and character.
Finally, there is one other option that allows you to enjoy the benefits of saying I'm sorry through both a written and verbal apology. It's a hand-delivered written apology. It gives the recipient time to absorb the contents of your letter and can provide a better foundation for constructive dialogue and discussions.
Learn about the different benefits of saying sorry with an apology letter.