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But It’s Not About You!

November 11, 2013
Mary Jane Copps

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Driving home from Guysborough last Tuesday I had ample opportunity to listen to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s apology statement. It played on the radio  several times and, of course, there are lots of similarities between radio content and a phone conversation.  While I could comment on many things about the ridiculous situation in Toronto politics, what struck me most was Rob Ford’s  choice of words.

Consider these statements:

“I know I have embarrassed everyone”

“I will forever be sorry”

“I know that admitting my mistakes was the right thing to do and I feel like 1,000 pounds have been lifted off my shoulders”

“I have nothing left to hide”

“I was embarrassed and ashamed”

“I can’t do anything else but apologize”

“I sincerely sincerely sincerely sincerely apologize”

Now, put this in the context of customer service or sales. Can you hear it? The apology shouldn’t have been about Rob Ford! If his apology is genuine, if he really wants to serve the City and its people, if he truly wants to stand and be of service, then his language would be vastly different.

Consider these possibilities:

“You have been embarrassed by me and my behaviour”

“You have been lied to by me”

“I apologize to you. What can I do to regain your trust?”

The #1 rule of great communication is “It’s Not About You”.  Rob Ford’s apology statement is an amazing example of how not to speak with your clients and customers: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/news-video/rob-ford-apologizes-to-torontonians-family-but-will-not-step-down/article15279242/

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Steve Foran says:

    Insightful and concisely said.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Steve. I fussed a bit about this post as I don’t usually tap into current affairs, but over the radio his language was so obviously self-centred!

  2. peggy says:

    My sentiments exact about how Rob Ford “apologized.” But I couldn’t put my finger on how the his language was so off.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Peggy, for sharing your thoughts. Funny how we instinctively know when something isn’t “right”. The media sound bites often prevent us from hearing exactly what’s wrong.

  3. Paul Mombourquette says:

    Wow, well said MJ., I love how you take these experiences and use them to help others to communicate better.
    Paul

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