Disney employee training is legendary in human resources and corporate training circles. Of course, Disney doesn’t refer to the people it hires as employees. Everyone is a cast member, from the janitor to the CEO.
My wife has worked for Disney in their Disney Stores as both a manager and a regular cast member for years. Among the first things cast members are taught is to always point using two fingers or the whole hand, that Disney is a first name company, and to never apologize for corporate policies.
Why Disney Cast Members Don’t Apologize for Corporate Policy
Why shouldn’t employees apologize? People apologize all the time for things that aren’t really their fault. Isn’t that just being polite?
Disney wants its cast members to be magical and unfailingly polite. But, it also understands the psychology of apology.
When you say you are sorry for something, it communicates to the other person that you have wronged them. If the situation is not then resolved to their satisfaction, they are more likely to get angry and feel personally offended.
For example, if a guest (Disney has guests, not customers) tries to buy something they think is on sale, but that is in fact not on sale, the cast member does not say, “I’m sorry that’s not part of the sale.”
Imagine what is going through the guest’s mind once they hear this. Their mind stops at the words “I’m sorry.” They now have someone to blame for the one thing they want to buy not being on sale.
The guest is likely to try and escalate the situation. After all the cast member just admitted it’s their fault the guest can’t get what they want.
How This Works for Freelancers
When you are dealing with clients, you need to work hard to maintain a balanced business relationship. You are not their employee. You are a vendor. You are a business that provides a valuable service to their business.
If a potential client complains about your rates and you start to defend your position with, “I’m sorry,” you have already lost.