Women are particularly guilty of this one, but everyone could stand to take some time to think about their use of "sorry."
Sorry puts the attention on you as the person apologizing. It asks for a response that is focused on you (forgiveness, consolation, etc.).
Sometimes that is appropriate (like when you actually screw up badly and you need to acknowledge that fact). Often, it is better to put the focus on your audience instead. Like in person conversation, if you want people to feel appreciated, cared for, and connected, focus on them, not on yourself.
What to Do Instead
I love this image from the Job Network about saying "thank you" instead of "sorry." Notice how it immediately puts the focus onto the other person that you are communicating with.
This goes for your blog too. Don't bother to say "sorry for not writing for so long" or "sorry that this is my first post in a while." Create amazing content and share it unabashedly. This is another perfect opportunity for thank you: "thank you so much for reading my blog" or "thank you for showing up today!"
Another option is to skip the "sorry altogether." We often use "sorry" as a filler and it immediately puts us in a position of weakness.
Often, when we are saying "sorry" the offense is only in our head, or who we are really saying sorry to is ourself. We feel bad for not getting the power point done the way we wanted, or we are upset that the video we made didn't turn out like we were hoping.
People don't know what was in your head, only what is in front of them. It is unfair to them to take away from the joy they can have in what you are offering them by making them feel sad about the things they can't have. Focus on the present and making your audience feel valued.
If you are catching yourself using sorry ask yourself the following questions:
When you use "just" it minimizes what you are saying and weakens your position. If you are using it in a list of instructions it can make people feel stupid if it is still hard for them.
Often "just" can be eliminated completely without changing the meaning of the sentence.
This is one of my personal challenges, as I tend to use it all the time. Now I use a find and replace search whenever I write anything to find and get rid of all the ones that I can. You can even install a Google Chrome extension that you can install to flag words like "just" and "sorry" for you.
When you catch yourself using "just" ask yourself:
To many people, social media is the space of "I," We all are familiar with the eye rolls about excessive selfies that we get in real life. And many people when I ask them why they don't use social media say "I am not interested in what everyone else has for lunch every day."
While there definitely is a place to share your successes, if you notice that your bio on Twitter, your LinkedIn summary, and most of your status updates start with "I" there may be a problem.
Especially when using social media as a business tool, your primary goal is to communicate with others who you are there to serve and how you can improve their life.
Look at these examples:
"I help businesses with social media"
"If you are ready to start making social media work to grow your business, I would love to help."
"I would love to talk to you"
"When are you available to talk more about your goals?"
"I am not sure what to write about next."
"What would you love to read about? What questions are the biggest ones in your business right now?"
Do you also notice how many of the revised versions turn a statement into a question? Questions invite response and engagement - both essential for social media success.
Which one are you going to focus on?
Which one of these three words do you find yourself overusing? What kind of difference do you think it would make in your business and life to start being aware of these words in your communication?