Things to Say Instead of “Sorry”

Women apologise 70% more than men in professional settings, and start every 5th sentence with the word sorry. 

The way we express ourselves plays a crucial role in shaping perceptions about our competence, confidence, and authority. For many women, habitual apologies or prefacing opinions with phrases like “Sorry, but…” or “I might be wrong, but…” are common. While intended as politeness, these qualifiers can inadvertently undermine the speaker’s authority and dilute the impact of their message.

We are delighted to share some empowering alternatives.

The Subtle loss of Power with “Sorry”

The frequent use of “sorry” in professional dialogue can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it reflects empathy and consideration; on the other, it may signal a lack of confidence in one’s statements or decisions. Recognising and adjusting this habit can significantly enhance how contributions are perceived in the workplace.

Assertive Alternatives to “Sorry”

Transforming our communication style from apologetic to assertive doesn’t mean losing our empathy or politeness. Instead, it’s about choosing words that convey our message confidently and respectfully. Here are empowering alternatives for common scenarios where “sorry” might sneak into our interactions:

Sorry for rescheduling. Thanks for being flexible!

Sorry to bother you. Thanks for carving out time.

Sorry for venting. Thanks for listening.

Sorry for running late. Thanks so much for waiting.

Sorry I had to take that call. Thanks for your patience!

Sorry for jumping in. I have an idea that may help.

Sorry for the mistake. Thank for catching that!

Sorry, I don’t get it. Could you please repeat that? I want to make sure I got it right.

Practicing Assertive Communication

Adopting a more assertive communication style is a journey that requires practice and mindfulness. Every woman has the right to express her ideas, insights, and opinions without apology, provided it’s done with respect and consideration for others.

This shift not only boosts our own self-confidence but also influences how others perceive and respect us in professional environments.

If you found this guide helpful, please share it with friends and colleagues who might also benefit from embracing more assertiveness. Together, we can transform our workplaces into environments where every woman’s voice is heard and valued. Let’s support each other in finding and confidently using our voices.

Find out how NIXY can support women in your organisation.

Contact us directly at [email protected] .

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