Even with the most careful planning, there are bound to be times when a meeting that you have scheduled has to be canceled. When canceling a meeting, it is vital that you are cater to the needs of those with whom you were to meet. If you fail to cancel your meeting appropriately, you may inadvertently send the message to people that their time is of little importance to you.
Announce the cancellation as far in advance as possible. The more advanced notice individuals have that a meeting has been canceled the better. If you suspect that you may have to cancel a meeting well in advance of the meeting date, it may be wise to go ahead and cancel the meeting even though you aren’t sure that you will have to, as doing so is infinitely better than waiting until the last minute.
Send an electronic announcement. Many individuals check their email constantly, making an email cancellation highly effective. Send out this email to every person who was to attend, placing the meeting date and the word “canceled” in the subject line to make the purpose immediately clear.
Speak to participants if possible. If the individuals with whom you were to meet work in the same building as you, taking trips to their offices and telling them of the cancellation face-to-face is a polite thing to do, particularly if you did not cancel with much advanced notice. By telling them face-to-face you can ensure that they all get the message that the meeting is off.
Apologize for inconvenience. Make it abundantly clear to everyone involved that you are sorry for canceling the meeting and that you don’t make a habit of inconveniencing people in this manner.
Provide information about rescheduling plans. Rescheduling the meeting, if necessary, is best done immediately after the cancellation. By rescheduling right away, you show meeting participants that the meeting was important to you and that you do still intend to hold it, albeit at a later date.