How to Apologize for Missing a Meeting How to Apologize for Missing a Meeting

How to Apologize for Missing a Meeting
By Body Langauge and Human Behavior Expert 
Patti Wood
Step One - Communicate your apology as soon as possible. Waiting to let some time pass is a great strategy when you’re a gardener waiting for your seeds to grow, but delay allows weeds to grow larger in a garden and a bad situation to grow worse in our relationships. Dissonance makes people uncomfortable, so your colleague who is upset with you for missing the meeting and that they taking will not remember the good behavior in other situations they will emphasize the bad and research shows it will actually grow in severity in their minds.

Step Two - apologize. – You can say, “I apologize,” or “I am sorry.” Or my personal favorite, “I am sorry, I messed up.”

Step Three - Keep the message clear of “buts” and excuses. In order to sound professional, you must keep your message clear and free of the “buts” So don’t say, “I’m sorry, but I had to take that phone call it was really important.”  Stay clear of the blame game. “I am sorry, but it’s not really my fault, my boss…”  You might think, “But sometimes it’s not my fault.”  It doesn’t matter who’s to blame; apologize anyway without giving an excuse. If you’re apologizing to a customer, you know you are a representative of your company and therefore you have a responsibility to see that things go well. In all your relationships your willingness to be accountable will ensure that you are seen as a responsible, mature individual.  If you start making excuses, you may start an argument. If you choose to be agreeable an argument is not possible.

Step Four - If there is an excuse use this magic phrasing. “I am sorry, I messed up, there is a reason but the most important thing for you to know now is that I am sorry.”   If you absolutely must make an excuse right now for goodness sakes make the excuse briefer than your apology and whether writing an excuse or giving it face-to-face, follow it with another statement of apology.

Step Five - Sympathize. Empathize.  Let the person know that you can identify with his feelings.  For example, “I understand that you were worried and frustrated because I missed the call. would be frustrated to.”  Their feelings have been validated. You can also assure them that you did not mean them harm. For example, “I did not mean to upset you.”

Step Six Accept responsibility for the situation. You’re an adult. You cannot blame mommy. Be accountable. If you’re not going to be accountable do not apologize just to say you did.  If you are willing let the person know that you intend to do whatever it takes to make things right. You can’t help what has already happened, but you will come up with a solution to the problem.

Step Seven - Show your regret. Just as I said people will complain till they see you get there pain, some people will not fully accept an apology unless they know you have suffered too. I don’t mean that meanly, just know that pain for pain can make a conflict disappear. Come right out and say you are sorry or ashamed. “I feel really bad for forgetting”.

Step Eight - Repair the damage. To be complete, an apology must correct the injury. If you damaged someone's property, offer to fix it. If the damage isn't so obvious, ask “What can I do to make it up to you? There may be nothing concrete you can do, but the offer must be sincere. “I'll will be there on the call on time next time. Meantime I want to send you a Starbucks card to say I am sorry.”

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at