The Art of Communicating an Apology

February 19, 2010by Dave Florin

The Art of Communicating an Apology

Watching famous people apologize is a national sport. Some do it well and some do not. No matter the person, the words are the same: “I’m sorry,” “I’m embarrassed,” “I brought this on myself.” Even if you have the perfect words, without expressing sincere emotion you will swing and miss.

This is exactly where Tiger Woods fell short. No one doubts that Woods regrets his actions. What people doubt is if his public apology was sincere. It came across as though Woods regretted being caught. By showing little emotion during the apology, reading from a script for long stretches, insincere hugs at the end, overly controlled setting, Tiger did nothing to overcome this doubt. People were left believing it was a calculated move to regain the support of endorsers.

Anyone in the PR world knows this was a PR 101 no, no. Everything was set to support Woods, his mother was placed between Elin’s mother and sister, his foundation supporters were visible and he even had the perfect script. Without the sincerity behind the words, though, the effort was futile.

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