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Meeting Tips

How to Politely Reschedule Work Meetings (+ Email Templates)

Published
February 26, 2024
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4
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Last updated
February 26, 2024
Arianna Rulli
How to Politely Reschedule Work Meetings (+ Email Templates)
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Ever found yourself in the tough situation where postponing a meeting is probably the best idea but you don't want to disappoint others?

Scheduling conflicts, unforeseen circumstances, and the need for further preparation can often lead us to the tough decision of whether to proceed with a meeting or hit the pause button.

Join us as we explore how to navigate the tricky waters of postponing meetings, ensuring each rescheduled session is as productive, if not more, than originally planned.

Professional Reasons to Postpone a Meeting

What could be the reasons for needing to postpone a meeting? There are numerous potential causes, and they can vary depending on the situation.

Here are some of the main reasons that might prevent attendance at a meeting:

  • Lack of preparation: At times, a meeting scheduled to make decisions or discuss a topic might require more information to ensure the meeting agenda is fully addressed.
  • Unexpected emergencies: Sudden personal emergencies, health issues, or family matters can emerge, rendering it impossible for key participants to attend the meeting.
  • Inclement weather: For face-to-face meetings, severe weather conditions can make travel unsafe for participants, necessitating a rescheduling.
  • Illness or public health concerns: Individual illness or broader public health emergencies, such as a flu outbreak or pandemic conditions, can necessitate the postponement of meetings to ensure the safety of all participants.

Unprofessional Reasons

However, there are also invalid and unprofessional reasons for postponing a meeting that should not be used.

For example:

  • Not feeling like it: Treating a scheduled meeting as optional based on personal mood or lack of enthusiasm is a lack of professionalism.
  • Last-minute second thoughts: Changing your mind about the necessity of the meeting without a legitimate reason, especially if it happens shortly before the scheduled time.
  • Avoiding difficult discussions: Not wanting to tackle challenging discussions or topics expected to be raised during the meeting.
  • Desire to sleep more: Deciding to postpone a morning meeting because you want to sleep more, without considering the schedules of others.
  • Weather preferences: Wanting to enjoy good weather for outdoor activities, considering it a reason to postpone work.
  • Socializing with friends or colleagues: Preferring to spend time on coffee breaks or long lunches with colleagues or friends instead of attending the scheduled meeting.

When Postponing a Meeting Isn't Necessary

Postponing a meeting can lead to inconvenience and dissatisfaction among colleagues, which is why you need to identify when it's truly necessary to postpone one.

Here are some instances where postponing a meeting isn't necessary:

  1. Urgent Matters: For meetings addressing urgent issues that require immediate attention or resolution, postponing could be detrimental. This includes crisis management, time-sensitive projects, or urgent strategic decisions.
  2. Availability of Virtual Tools: With the availability of virtual meeting platforms, physical presence isn't always required. If participants can effectively communicate and collaborate online, the meeting can proceed as scheduled.
  3. Legal or Compliance Deadlines: Meetings that are part of a legal or regulatory process, or those that need to happen by a certain deadline to comply with laws or regulations, should not be postponed.
  4. Key Participants Are Available: If all key participants can attend and contribute effectively, postponing may not be necessary. This includes those whose input is critical for decision-making or progress.

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Where to Notify Others

Depending on the context and timing, there are various ways to inform other attendees that the meeting will no longer take place at the originally scheduled date and time, but will instead be postponed to a later moment.

Here are 5 professional methods to postpone a meeting:

  1. Corporate Communication Platforms: For a quick notification, use platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams to inform attendees of the change, stating that a more detailed follow-up message or meeting rescheduling email will be sent.
  2. Calendar Update: Immediately update the meeting scheduled in shared calendar systems, such as Google Calendar, with the new meeting time. This automatically notifies attendees of the rescheduled meeting, saving time and reducing the risk of scheduling conflicts.
  3. Phone or Video Call: In situations where a meeting is postponed at the last minute, a personal touch can make a difference. A brief phone call or video chat to explain the situation professionally, offering the next meeting's alternative date, can help maintain good relations and ensure clarity.
  4. Reschedule Meeting Email: Send an email to all meeting attendees with a clear subject line. Outline the reason for the postponement, whether it be technical issues, unavoidable circumstances, or the need for additional prep work. Propose alternative dates and times, ensuring to respect the other person's time.

Next, let's specifically look at rescheduling email examples. Note that you can take inspiration from them and tailor them to your needs, even if you're using other communication channels.

How to Write an Email to Postpone a Meeting

(1) Subject Line

The subject line is the most important part of an email because it determines whether the recipient will open it. Without a clear subject line, the email might end up in the spam folder.

A subject line should be:

  • Concise and clear
  • Formal and professional
  • Contain the essence of the email

Examples:

  • "Rescheduling our meeting"
  • "Change of plans for our meeting"
  • "New meeting on [Date]"

(2) Reason Why

Begin the email with a simple introduction and greeting, also apologizing for the inconvenience and explaining the reason for moving the meeting.

It's not necessary to detail why the meeting will no longer be held. Instead, it's better to be concise and direct without beating around the bush.

Examples:

  • "Dear colleagues, I apologize for the sudden change of plans, but due to personal emergencies, I have to postpone the meeting"
  • "Hi Team, I need to let you know that we'll have to reschedule our upcoming meeting. We're still pulling together some important pieces of information to ensure our discussion is as effective as possible. I understand this might shift your schedules a bit, and I apologize for any inconvenience."

(3) Propose New Solutions

Once you've announced that the meeting needs to be postponed, it's necessary to propose new solutions, meaning a new date and time.

To ensure everyone can attend the rescheduled meeting, the new timing must align with all participants' schedules.

How to know when to schedule the new meeting?

Two options:

  1. If there's a shared calendar, simply check others' commitments and accordingly insert the new meeting. Participants will be immediately notified, but for safety, you can also announce it in the email.
  2. If there isn't a shared calendar, then you can resort to polling the team members. This can be done on specific platforms like Calendly.

Examples:

  • "The new meeting time is at [Hour]"
  • "I have added the new meeting time to the calendar"
  • "Check the [Platform Name] link attached at the end of the email so we can decide the date and time of the new meeting"

(4) Ask for Confirmation

At the end of the email, before the closing section, make sure to ask the recipients to send you a confirmation email providing a deadline.

This step will allow you to verify whether the email has been received by everyone and to ensure that all have reviewed the calendar (in case there is a shared one).

Examples:

  • "Can you please confirm that you’ve received this email?"
  • "Can you see the new date and time on your calendar?"
  • "Please let me know your availability by [Date], so we can finalize the details of our next meeting"

(5) Express Appreciation

As the final step of the email, it's necessary to greet and thank the team members for their attention.

The farewell should be brief and to the point, without repeating information already mentioned in other parts of the email.

Examples:

  • "Thanks for accommodating this request"
  • "Thanks to everyone for understanding"

Email Templates

Below, we provide you with 3 example templates for writing your next rescheduling email:

(1) Rescheduling for Unforeseen Circumstances

Reschedule Needed Due to Unexpected Event

Dear Team,

I hope you're all doing well. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we need to reschedule our upcoming meeting originally set for [Date and Time]. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding.

I propose we meet either on [Date and Time] or [Another Date and Time]. Please let me know which option works best for everyone, or if there's a better alternative, feel free to suggest it.

Thank you for your flexibility and quick response on this matter.

Best,

[Your Name]

(2) Rescheduling for Lack of Preparation

Postponing Meeting: More Prep Time Needed

Dear [Name],

I hope this message finds you well. After reviewing our agenda for the upcoming meeting scheduled for [Date and Time], it's become clear that we need a bit more time to prepare to ensure a productive and meaningful discussion.

To allow sufficient time for all necessary preparations, I suggest we reschedule our meeting to [Date] or [Date], at [Time]. Please share your availability for these dates.

I appreciate your cooperation and effort in making our meetings as effective as possible. Thank you for adjusting your schedules on such short notice.

Looking forward to your feedback and finalizing our new meeting time soon.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

(3) Rescheduling for Severe Weather Conditions

Meeting Reschedule Due to Severe Weather Alert

Dear Team,

I hope you're all staying safe. Due to the severe weather conditions impacting our area, it's best to reschedule our meeting originally set for [Date and Time].

I appreciate your flexibility under these circumstances. Please stay tuned for a proposed new meeting time later in the week.

Best regards and stay safe,

[Your Name]

Conclusion

Postponing a meeting, regardless of its size, presents challenges and can cause inconvenience and dissatisfaction among attendees, particularly when the new schedule fails to meet everyone's needs.

The consequences of rescheduling can affect much more than just the calendar; it can impact team workflow, morale, and overall productivity.

Thus, altering a meeting schedule should always be a last resort, undertaken only for valid and professional reasons.

The importance of clear and efficient communication during this process cannot be emphasized enough. The steps of notifying participants, suggesting alternative arrangements, and confirming the new details are crucial to minimize disruption and preserve the meeting's purpose.

Utilizing shared calendars or polls to find a suitable new time helps ensure the rescheduled meeting meets everyone's availability and keeps the project on track.

FAQs

How Do You Politely Postpone a Meeting?

To professionally postpone a meeting due to unforeseen circumstances or scheduling conflicts, it's crucial to handle the situation with care to respect the time of all meeting attendees. Here’s a succinct and effective way to reschedule a meeting:

  1. Start with a Clear Subject Line: Use a clear subject line to ensure immediate attention to the matter. such as "Meeting Rescheduling Request: New Date for Upcoming Business Meeting".
  2. Explain the Reason Briefly: Begin your email with a simple greeting and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Also, mention the valid reason for the postponement.
  3. Propose New Solutions: Offer following alternative dates and times for the rescheduled meeting, ensuring to consider the schedules of all other attendees.
  4. Ask for Confirmation: Request the attendees to confirm their availability for the new meeting time providing a deadline.
  5. Close with Professional Courtesy: End the email with phrases like "Best regards" or "Sincerely apologize," adding a personal touch while maintaining professionalism.

What Are Valid Reasons to Postpone a Meeting?

Valid reasons to postpone a business meeting include:

  • Unforeseen circumstances
  • Health concerns
  • The need for additional prep work to ensure the meeting agenda is fully addressed.

It's essential to evaluate whether the reasons justify a postponed meeting, ensuring that all participants are on the same page and that the decision respects the other person's time.

Can Too Many Postponed Meetings Affect Team Dynamics?

Yes, too many postponed meetings can significantly impact team dynamics. When a meeting is postponed it can disrupt the flow of work and lead to scheduling conflicts among meeting attendees.

Each rescheduled meeting requires sending out a new meeting rescheduling request by email, adjusting the meeting calendar, and finding alternative dates that suit all attendees.

When meetings are rescheduled too frequently, it can strain relationships between team members, as it may seem like a disregard for the other party's time and commitments.

To minimize the adverse impact of rescheduling meetings, it's advisable to professionally manage the situation by providing follow-up messages (as an email or calendar notifications), ensuring the new date and time are convenient, and minimizing instances where meetings need to be postponed.

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How to Politely Reschedule Work Meetings (+ Email Templates)
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How to Politely Reschedule Work Meetings (+ Email Templates)
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How to Politely Reschedule Work Meetings (+ Email Templates)
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