Talk

Advanced search

We must stop apologising

(68 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 14:10:45

I've started a thread like this before but I've just been to a talk by three people, all asked as they're experts in their fields. It was really noticeable to me that the two men just spoke and when they'd finished they stopped. The woman's first and last words were "sorry".
I know I do it myself although I am desperate to stop. It is a female thing isn't it. We must stop apologising for sharing our extensive expertise!

That1950sMum Wed 25-Oct-17 14:19:51

There were only three people and one of them said sorry a lot. Hardly enough to base a theory on about the difference between men and women!

I am a woman. I don't think I've ever said sorry for expressing my opinion when I feel I know what I'm talking about because I'm professionally qualified. I might well say sorry before expressing an opinion I'm less sure about.

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 14:22:31

I notice it a lot and am wondering if others do. Glad to hear you don't.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Wed 25-Oct-17 14:57:57

Yes I notice this. I've just realised that a collaboration I'm involved in with a male colleague has taken 6 months longer to get off the ground than it should have, and nearly failed altogether, because of this sort of thing.

I said things like: "well I think that..." and "if we were to..." just because that's how I talk. Then he thought I wasn't very confident in the project and kept trying to give me 'get outs' and then that made me think he wasn't very confident in the project. It wasn't something either of us wanted to end up with sole responsibility for so we both nearly bailed out. That would have been a real shame because it turns out we're both really excited about it.

It's made me wonder what the hell else opportunities I might have lost along the way without even noticing confused

SpookghosttiAndMeatboos Wed 25-Oct-17 15:28:51

I've noticed this - and it's not made any easier by working with a lot of Americans and Germans who have a different style of communication from me and each other!

I've done my best to stamp it out in my written communication.

makeourfuture Wed 25-Oct-17 15:41:43

I can never tell what a British person means by "sorry".

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 25-Oct-17 15:44:03

Women apparently do apologise more than men: https://www.livescience.com/8698-study-reveals-women-apologize.html but it's because they consider more things need apologising for than men. Not because they are generally more apologetic.

The thing about couching your opinions in apology is to do with a lack of confidence I think.

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 18:07:00

Anyway sorry for starting this thread ;)
I really wanted to tell her. She was very professional and clearly very senior during the speech but the apologies and associated stuff at the beginning and end made her seem way out of her depth. I'm sure I'd get similar feed back and am consciously trying to change it.
Rule of thumb, if people have paid to hear you speak, they don't expect an apology.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 25-Oct-17 18:07:32

I've started a thread like this before but I've just been to a talk by three people, all asked as they're experts in their fields. It was really noticeable to me that the two men just spoke and when they'd finished they stopped. The woman's first and last words were "sorry".

I do a reasonable amount of paid public speaking in my specialist field. I think it is pretty weird to start and end a talk that way.

I , and everyone else, will during a talk say things like "sorry this bit is a bit boring" or " sorry , due to time constraints I'll skip this bit but it is your notes"

If something goes catastrophically wrong a speaker would say sorry.

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 18:10:33

Yes, agree. I do think it's related to nerves but also the imposter syndrome (have I remembered that right?). Trying to lower expectations from the start. I speak at conferences and had a light bulb moment when I realised people had paid for this and didn't expect me to deliver a sub standard presentation. I had no intention to do so, so why apologise as if I did

AppleKatie Wed 25-Oct-17 18:12:08

But unless the time constraints are because of your actions (being late/leaving early) why are you apologising?

I've been asked to do this talk in 10 minutes shorter than the usual time so X, Y, Z can be found on your notes. Now let me draw your attention to A BC...

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 18:13:37

Yes exactly. apologise if it's needed but she (and others Inc me, this isn't meant to be about an individual) seem to do it from habit, or as I say to lower expectations

AppleKatie Wed 25-Oct-17 18:36:40

I apologise all the time because it seems like the right thing to do.
My DH only apologies if he has deliberately done something wrong/thoughtless/etc and sees no reason to apologise if his intentions were good.

This infuriates me frequently. I suspect there is a healthy middle ground somewhere however...

Notanumberuser Wed 25-Oct-17 18:39:26

I am making a deliberate effort not to apologise. For me it comes from imposter syndrome I think. I’m having to give high level briefings and I’ve had to up my self esteem and I know that I tend to do myself down, instead of just acknowledging my knowledge and expertise.

FaFoutis Wed 25-Oct-17 18:42:58

I do lots of public speaking and consciously avoid this. I keep catching myself writing 'Just' in work emails though (Just a reminder/ Just to let you know) - then deleting it.

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 25-Oct-17 18:45:05

@AppleKatie I would try and make sure that you aren't apologising for your opinions/thoughts/input/effort etc or for your presence.

I'd give up trying to change what your DH does, but I agree that not apologising for an unintended mistake/consequence is wrong. Good intentions sometimes aren't sufficient.

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 18:47:19

Will be on the lookout for just too. That sounds like me

AppleKatie Wed 25-Oct-17 19:00:33

You're right @assinatedbeauty apologies are a minefield. I wonder if this is a uniquely British cultural gender inequality?

BertrandRussell Wed 25-Oct-17 19:03:33

My dp always comments when I ring him, he answers and I say "It's just me" or "It's only me"......

StealthPolarBear Wed 25-Oct-17 19:40:45

I do that too Bertrand, as does my mum, when we're on the phone to each other it's a nightmare

AppleKatie Wed 25-Oct-17 19:49:32

I apologise all the time because it seems like the right thing to do.
My DH only apologies if he has deliberately done something wrong/thoughtless/etc and sees no reason to apologise if his intentions were good.

This infuriates me frequently. I suspect there is a healthy middle ground somewhere however...

QuentinSummers Wed 25-Oct-17 19:52:27

I got told off last week by a more senior woman for apologising too much. I feel like I annoy people by speaking so then I say sorry. Need to break the habit but it's hard

DrRisotto Wed 25-Oct-17 19:53:10

Sorry, I do it all the time

BadenBadenBadenBaden Wed 25-Oct-17 19:56:19

I have female family members who do it all the time and I have mentioned it to them and also tried to stop myself doing it.

Mxyzptlk Wed 25-Oct-17 19:58:22

I've noticed, also, that women often smile when there is nothing to smile about in what they are saying.
It's a way of trying to make themselves acceptable.
When does a man ever think about that?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now