So you’ve ‘accidentally’ cheated on your partner on anniversary night. Your bad.
But you’re a man’s man and manly men don’t apologise, right? Wrong.
In light of the Australian cricket team’s recent ball tampering scandal, we thought we’d skip the theatrics and get to the heart of the matter: how to apologise like a man.
“Even if the fault split is something like 1%/99%, you still need to work hard to humble yourself and come to an understanding of what that 1% is rooted in (The Art Of Manliness)”.
More importantly, SKINS Executive Chairman Jaime Fuller told us; the key to a good apology is authenticity: and this means contrition. Without contrition the path to redemption is a long and difficult one. For some it comes easier than for others.
Canadian Ben Johnson is the perfect example, he said, explaining how, “For 25 years his was the name and face synonymous with doping until he passed the baton to Lance Armstrong. When first confronted, Ben chose to lie and deny having doped. It was only when confronted with secret recordings that he chose to come clean. There is little doubt this resulted in him taking much longer to find redemption.”
When asked about the cricket scandal, he said, “Steven Smith has already done most of the redemption work in my opinion. His contrition was there for all to see when he broke down in his press conference. He now needs to back this up with some good work and you’ll find he will have the majority of the public on his side in his quest to get back to being the champion cricketer that he is.”
Alex Tselios, founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, agreed; “Watching figures apologise with a defensive tone, such as Mark Zuckerberg regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, doesn’t ignite trust when it is not deemed authentic.”
“Audiences can spot authenticity very quickly, and will be fast to analyse your response. It’s far better to be honest but navigate clearly why you understand if a side feels let down.”
There are exceptions, such as Zinedane Zidane—ex-football player and current manager of Real Madrid)—who says he would rather die than apologise to Marco Materrazi, whom he headbutted in the 2006 World Cup Football Final. But in these cases it’s likely fans thought the action being apologised for was justifiable in the first place (Materrazi is widely believed to have insulted Zidane’s mother, or sister).
Managing Director of The PR Hub, Samantha Dybac, emphasised the importance of fast, decisive action in the context of public apologies, as well as—again—accepting responsibility. “Trying to downplay a situation, delay an outcome or shift the blame where others might be involved creates a negative tone and opens the way for extensive opinion and commentary, which only exacerbates the situation”, she said.
She also offered a piece of consolation for anyone in need of making an apology, “History points to the fact that despite the initial public outcry, memories fade and people can be quite forgiving over time”.