We all have those ‘times of the month’… you know what I’m talking about… the times when you’re too busy to send that follow-up email, much less see if your socks match.
So what happens when you find yourself at the tail end of one of those periods? How do you recover, follow-up, apologize, and reconnect with dignity? Seriously… I’m asking. Have you seen the date of my last post? DON’T LOOK!
In my five years in professional communications, here are some key things I’ve learned about people and communicating:
- People are understanding (for the most part) – We’ve all been there and had those times. We make allowances for others faults, just as others make allowances for ours. Trust in the kindness of others.
- It’s ok to say ‘I’m sorry’ – Apologize if you dropped the ball, missed the deadline, or took the project in the wrong direction. Don’t grovel or start listing all your excuses, even if they are valid or legit! Just apologize. Period.
- People don’t want to hear the list of excuses – Don’t rattle off all the things you’ve been busy with or projects you’ve worked on. Just take ownership of the fact that you did not respond or act in a timely fashion as you would have liked.
- Make amends – Ask if there’s any other upcoming projects you could provide assistance with and then ‘wow’ them with your efficiency this time. Or offer them a free product/service or discounted rate. It’s hard to pass up a good deal!
- Set realistic goals – Going forward, set realistic goals for yourself and your business, and make those goals known to your client. I’m not saying to set the bar low, but be realistic in your expectations of what you and your employees can accomplish.
Between work, family, and other commitments, life gets busy. Learn to forgive yourself and forgive others when one of the many proverbial balls is dropped.
As these gentlemen so elegantly put it:
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. – Steve Jobs