There’s a right way and a wrong way to tell people you are sorry for being late for a meeting. According to Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want, here are the wrong and right ways.
Wrong way to apologize for being late | Append it with an excuse: “My meeting ran long.”
Why it doesn’t work | Adds insult to injury: “My time is more important than your’s.”
Right way to apologize for being late | Focus your apology on the impact you’ve made or the problems you’ve caused. “Sorry for keeping you waiting” or “I’m so sorry for taking up more of your time” or even “Thank you for your flexibility.”
Why it works | If you show everyone that you’re sorry for using up their valuable time, your apology will sound much more sincere.