“Sorry I didn’t get back to you. I have been so busy.”
“Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I have been so busy”
“Sorry I’m late. I am so busy.
These are not endearing communication openers whether they are expressed in person, by email, or voice message. If you live and breathe in the working world you are ipso facto, busy. If you aren’t busy, something is awry.
No doubt, I too have slipped the “busyness” phrase into my own communication – it is usually followed with immediate regret. When someone says, “I am so busy”, the unsaid inference is,“ and I have been too busy to include you.” Now this may not be true, but that’s how it sounds and feels.
To add to the drama the latecomer may rush in to a meeting juggling binders, iPads, Smartphones, and a Starbucks coffee as they breathlessly deliver their apology. The recipient of the greeting responds with a polite, “No problem”, however their inside voice is saying, “So what, I’m busy too but I left my busyness outside the door so that I can be focused and ready for you.”
We DO get overwhelmed with work and personal responsibilities. We DO run late for meetings or forget or postpone replies to our messages. Apologies are always appropriated. What is unnecessary is the preface along with a litany your busyness agenda. If you are late for a meeting or phone call simply say, “ I sorry I am late because, (insert ONE reason). If you are late in replying to an email or voicemail, “My sincere apologies for this late reply”, is sufficient. Already disgruntled because of the delay, why add to the aggravation by making people read, or listen to lengthy excuses?
- Open with “ I am sorry for being late”
- Give one specific reason
- Get on with the meeting or message.