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Effective Apologies

Summary #

An apology is an expression of regret. Effective apologies involve the apologizer taking full responsibility and pledging to prevent repeat offenses.

Patched Apple

Sorry, Frankenapple. At least you're alive.

(Photo: 1happysnapper at Flickr)

Commentary #

When we hear a child say "I'm sorry" when prompted, the insincerity is often palatable. Similar apologies by politicians and CEOs of recent have illicit similar reactions. What makes an apology effective?

Effective apologies should address:

  1. which norm (personal, social) was violated,
  2. acceptance of responsibility by the violator, and
  3. how the violations will be prevented in the future.

If these ideas sound familiar, it may be because that's what we tell our children.

Meta #

What apologies have you found to be the most effective?

See Also #