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How to Give an Effective Explanation (Not an Excuse)

Avoid Qualifiers

Prefacing your explanation with things like, “I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but…” can send the wrong message.

Jump right in with the information that's relevant and important.

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How to Give an Effective Explanation (Not an Excuse)

How to Give an Effective Explanation (Not an Excuse)

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-provide-explanations-that-dont-sound-like-thats-not-my-fault-excuses

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Key Ideas

Avoid Qualifiers

Prefacing your explanation with things like, “I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but…” can send the wrong message.

Jump right in with the information that's relevant and important.

Apologize

Not being able to deliver on what was expected of you warrants an apology - even if there were other factors contributing to the situation.

An apology demonstrates that you accept responsibility for your role in the situation.

Move On

Acknowledge your mistakes and be willing to learn from them. Share exactly how you will avoid this same problem in the future.

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Pointless Criticism

In the context of poor communication, criticizing is when you knock someone down for the wrong reasons: to hurt someone, to vent your frustrations or to boost your ego.

It’s easy enoug...

Blaming

When you blame someone, you take any responsibility off of yourself and put it on them. 

It’s understandable that you want to express your dissatisfaction with something. But sometimes you need to express it in order to find a solution, not to point singers.

Ineffective Complaining

Complaining is exhausting because it puts pressure on the other person. 

Complaining often results in the other person feeling as if they should somehow “fix” the problem or else just get away from the complaining. 

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is choosing to not let negative events of the past define how you feel.

Forgiveness can keep your emotional body healthy. It increases feelings of happiness and decreases ...

Forgiving is not the same as forgetting

You can forgive someone and still maintain a boundary. They may not even necessarily know you forgave them.

When you hold onto anger towards yourself or others, it weighs you down, drains your energy and increases your stress.

Living in the past

Resentment forces you to live in the past by fixing that person to that past moment.

Do not let yourself or the relationship be defined by anger. The ability to forgive and move on is critical for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with the people you care about.

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6 Components of a good apology
  1. Expression of regret
  2. Explanation of what went wrong
  3. Acknowledgment of responsibility
  4. Declaration of repentance
  5. Offer of repair
  6. Request for forgiveness
Communicate Effectively And Sincerely

The content of an apology is only half the battle. The delivery matters as well. If you mumble, avert eye contact, or stand in the corner with your arms crossed, it won’t matter what you say. 

No matter how much damage was done, a sincere apology restores faith.

The Courage To Apologize

Saying you’re sorry is uncomfortable. It can be hard to admit your shortcomings and acknowledge your mistakes. But taking responsibility is the key to restoring trust.