February 16, 2007

The Art of the Apology

Official apologies -- from the public sector or corporate officials -- are not easy to get, and not easy to give. As part of its on-going radio program, Life Matters, ABC (Australia) asked NSW Deputy Ombudsman, Chris Wheeler, how to give an apology. Wheeler said that apology skills need to be learned. The hour-long program, which can be downloaded, included the following advice:
  • An apology is not effective just by saying "sorry";
  • The person apologizing must take responsibility;
  • They must acknowledge the wrong and say it won't happen again;
  • The apology must be public;
  • The person apologizing must say what will be done to rectify the wrong; and
  • They must say exactly what they are sorry for (not just that it happened).
(ABC Radio National, via External Insights.)

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