Now that we have a good understanding of why apologies matter so much and how easily they can go wrong, let us explore what a good apology sounds like.
Researchers at various universities have found that the most compelling apologies include some or all of these elements:
§ An expression of regret
§ A statement of empathy for the pain caused
§ An explanation of what happened (not as an excuse!)
§ An acknowledgment of responsibility
§ A declaration of repentance
§ An offer of repair
§ A request for forgiveness
Their results suggest that if you’ve really messed up, you’ll do best if you use as many of these components as possible in your apology. However, the studies clearly showed that some of these components were much more important than others.
The researchers found that the single most important part of an apology is an...