Lame photo from ShutterstockIf you’re using the words “sorry” and “thanks”, then you run the high risk of sounding lame. These two words are thrown around so haphazardly and without any genuine feeling that they rank as having negative effects on your personal brand much like “umms”, “you knows” and “stuff like that”.

Are you guilty of using lame words?

Of the two, sorry is one of the most offensive.  I know if you’re able to read this blog then you’ve experienced someone saying an extremely disingenuous “sorry” to you.  It’s often thrown around with no care with the person uttering it not truly understanding how, or even what, they did that’s offensive or hurtful.  They merely saw your reaction and said sorry in response.

Thanks is another lame word –  although this one can be said with true feeling and be used by someone whose personality style is more reserved or introverted.

If you’re genuinely sorry, then get past sounding lame and ask for what it is you really want and take responsibility for the action that hurt or offended someone. Genuine apologies that make you sound meaningful and authentic start with – please forgive me.  Make it even more powerful by pairing that with the action that offended or hurt someone.

For example: Please forgive me for not telling you that I would be late in turning in my portion of the project.  

If you’re clueless to what that is, then ask for forgiveness for evoking a feeling from someone.  This will open up dialogue which is the quickest way to break down barriers and to truly engage.

For example:  Forgive me for making you angry.  I realize now that not communicating when I would be turning in the report caused you stress and extra work in adjusting your schedule.

Take ownership

Taking ownership of the action (or lack of action) that was offensive or hurtful to someone provides a powerful foundation and proof of your personal brand’s character and competence. Further dialogue and understanding, can propel you to the status of being a good communicator, adept at understanding and working with others.

The same practice can be applied to “thanks”.  I would rather have silence than an insincere thanks. With silence, I can almost rationalize that the other person was too busy or simply overlooked saying something. With a very lackadaisical thanks, the feeling of being “not valued enough” for a really thanks is often what lingers.

Say “thank you” and then express what specific action or attribute of the person is that you appreciate. [tweet this]

For example:  Thank you for providing in-depth feedback on my report. It’s helpful and provides some great direction for me on this and future reports.

Appreciation that’s delivered in a way that someone can receive it is much more powerful than a simple thanks just thrown around carelessly.

Do you agree, disagree or are you guilty of this?  Please comment below.

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