This weekend I had a jazz duo gig at an upscale restaurant in Houston.
I was looking forward to a night of singing my favorite standards after an extra long trip to Louisiana (that's another story I'll tell you later :p)
As I walked in the door, I ran into the pianist who had played the earlier solo shift. We knew each other "virtually" but had never met in person, so this was a nice surprise. He suggested we play a short song together before he left to "try each other out" for potential future collaborations.
I said, "Sure!"
The dining room was surprisingly noisy that night. All the tables were full, and several large parties were seated near the music area.
We headed over to the piano, selected a jazz standard from my repertoire list ("Almost Like Being in Love" for those of you who are curious) and he began to play the intro.
After a few seconds of music, I knew it was time to begin singing but couldn't seem to find my starting note in all the commotion.
I glanced over at him apologetically.
He quickly realized I need more context and played a snippet of the melody. That was just the boost I needed, and we ran through the rest of the song with ease.
Once the song was over, I felt the need to apologize for the late start.
"Sorry about that," I said nervously. "It's so loud in here!"
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to shove them back in. Why was I apologizing? It wasn't a big deal. No one was even paying attention at that point--they were talking with their friends--and we handled the delay like pros. Yet I felt the need to say, "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it," he smiled back, but I could feel the tiniest bit of a negative energy shift between us.
By leading with "sorry" rather than "thank you," I lost an extra opportunity to put my best foot forward and let my confident, grateful self shine through.
HOW APOLOGIES KILL OUR CONFIDENCE
Do you apologize unnecessarily on a regular basis?
Statistics show that women do this most often, but I also know lots of men who over-apologize, so really, everyone can benefit from becoming aware of the habit.
Replacing “sorry” with “thank you” is a small switch that holds a surprising amount of power and can even change the course of an interaction or conversation.
Overall, you’ll see your life trend in a more positive direction as you thank people more and more often for the kind things they do for you (even when that means they are pointing out your minor mistakes)!
THANK YOU = SHARING GRATITUDE & ELEVATING CHARISMA
If you're playing the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge with me this month, you'll notice that replacing "sorry" with "thank you" also puts you in a grateful mindset. So even if you've missed a few days of the Gratitude Challenge, don't apologize for it. Flip that script around and consider this an opportunity to say "thank you for reminding me to get back into the game!"
For those of you who'd like additional details about communicating in a more charismatic way (including situations when you can replace "sorry" with "thank you" or other more powerful phrases), check out this TEDx talk below:
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.