Whether you’re a master of planning your day or if you’re just getting used to this whole time management thing, rescheduling meetings and events is inevitable.  You don’t, however, want to be that person who’s always cancelling.  These 5 tips can help you plan better to avoid rescheduling and help you handle rescheduling like the professional that you are.

5 Tips For Handling Rescheduling

  1. Learn to decline.  Don’t accept that meeting invitation in the first place if you know you’re overbooked for the day.  The sender will certainly prefer a timely decline over last minute cancelling and rescheduling.  On the flip-side, if you’re the organizer, try to avoid last minute meeting requests unless absolutely urgent.
  2. Delegate when possible.  If you don’t play a pivotal role at the event, can you send someone in your place?  If you opt to go this route, be sure you alert the organizer of the change of attendee to avoid any awkward confusion.
  3. Give plenty of notice.  As soon as you know you can’t make the meeting, begin the rescheduling process.  Everyone knows that conflicts come up last minute, whether personal or professional.  Giving advance notice shows that you respect others’ time.  How much notice is appropriate really depends on the urgency of each unique situation and business model.  A general rule would be to avoid same day cancellations at all costs.
  4. Provide alternate dates.  You cancelled; you’re in charge of rescheduling.  Whether you’re the meeting organizer or not, providing some alternate dates when you cancel shows that you deem the meeting important.  Rather than offering a vague, “When are you available?”, provide a few specific dates and times.
  5. Avoid excuses.  The tendency is to want to justify and defend the fact that you’re rescheduling.  However, providing excuses can make it seem like the meeting, event or colleague is lower on the totem pole than your other responsibilities.  Apologize for the inconvenience, and proceed with rescheduling.

Rescheduling gone wrong can cause frustration and tension in a business relationship.  Everyone understands that it happens, but how you handle it can actually strengthen the connection by showing you respect and value the relationship.

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