Why You Should Never Apologize For Your Work
In college, I received one special piece of advice from a professor that has stayed with me throughout my life as an executive and an entrepreneur.
He told me to never apologize for my work.
During my second year in the university’s graphic design program, my fellow students and I were given the opportunity to compete in a contest to create the new logo for First Community Bank. In addition to designing the logo, we were required to present our design to the bank executives and deliver a printed style guide to ensure the proper use of our logo. Weeks of research, brainstorming, sketching, and producing a compelling and professional case for my logo were required.
When the big day finally arrived, our professor coached us, “Don’t start your presentation off with excuses. ‘I was up late last night.’ ‘I’ve been busy with my other classes.’ ‘I’m not sure I did this how you wanted.’ ‘This is not my best work.’ Don’t make excuses. Just deliver it.”
It sounds simple, but it is truly great advice. Set the tone when presenting your work by being confident and positive from the start. If you say something negative, you encourage agreement. If you put yourself down, people might believe you! Why not simply stand up and say, “This is why you should want my product. This is why you should invest in my business.” Period.
Don’t apologize or make excuses.
I followed my teacher’s advice in front of the First Community Bank executive team, delivered a killer presentation, and my design was chosen! It was a big deal for a young graphic design student to achieve this recognition in the business world, and I owe a lot of the credit to my professor’s timely advice.
His guidance has continued to help me throughout my life as an entrepreneur. Never apologize for your work. I remind myself daily. In the business world, if you’re going to give a speech, a presentation, a pitch to a client, or even hand someone a resume—whatever it is—face your audience and confidently let them know, “You’re getting my absolute best. This is my top work.”
People will believe you.
If you preface a presentation with apologies and excuses, you’re setting the audience’s expectation for weakness or failure that they may have otherwise missed. There is, obviously, a time for honesty or humility, but humility not what I’m talking about here. If you are self-deprecating while trying to sell yourself or close a deal, it’s a turn-off. People will see flaws after you point them out, even if the flaws are not actually there.
Instead, stand up, square your shoulders, and say, “Here is my best.” Then give it to them.
As I’ve grown older, the more I’ve come to believe there is something to the Law of Attraction. Experts have been talking about it for years, but it is making a resurgence in the public mind. In summary, we attract that which we think about. Whether it is good or bad, positive or negative, we will find what we think we will find every time. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why my professor’s advice was right on the money.
Think positive. Be positive. Attract a positive outcome.
Brandon Vallorani is CEO of Vallorani Estates and the author of The Wolves and the Mandolin: Celebrating Life’s Privileges In A Harsh World with ForbesBooks. Learn more at valloraniestates.com.