50% of Your Meetings Will Get Cancelled… and that’s okay!

by Rishi Shah on April 9, 2014


I had no idea how often meetings in the “Real World” would get cancelled or moved. In college you expect meetings to be in stone, mainly because classes and office hours are always on.

Being, 10 years into my professional career I’ve come to terms with meetings getting cancelled and I wanted to share a few of my tips with you.

3 Things to Do When Your Meeting gets Cancelled

  1. People have more important things to do than your meeting. Accept it.
  2. NEVER get mad, this is a way of life! Especially if you asked for the meeting.
  3. Use this email script: “No problem, at all. I totally know how these things can happen. What day/time works for you next week?”. This way you get them to find a time that works for them, the key is to use the word “next week” far enough away for them, and pretty near term for you :)

How to Avoid Cancelled Meetings

  1. Send a calendar invite and ask them to confirm.
  2. Make it a phone call or GoToMeeting unless it has to be in person. If it has to be in-person, you go to their office. People hate traveling for meetings. If it is in-person bring cookies and mention that in the email so people can look forward to something.
  3. Get to the point quickly. Reserve the first 3 minutes to “shoot the shit” and ask how their weekend is but after that get to the point. This will help you get a 2nd meeting.
  4. Make your meetings short. I like sending 15 minute meeting requests, that usually gets more “yes’es” than a full hour.
  5. Don’t assume your meeting is going to get cancelled. If you start doing this, you will get sloppy. Always assume IT’S ON!

What are your meeting tips? I’d love to learn yours!

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Kim April 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

I hate it when meetings get cancelled. I always get so freaking upset – but I have to learn to deal with it. Good post #lifelesson

Rishi Shah April 9, 2014 at 6:48 PM

I hear you Kim. I use to be the same way, now it is just part of the eb and flow of business!

Ryan April 9, 2014 at 4:50 PM

My tip is send an email 2 hours before the meeting starts to confirm. This way you can avoid any agony :)

Rishi Shah April 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

This is a good suggestion especially if you are going to travel to them.

Trin April 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

All great tips.

Rishi Shah April 9, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Thanks Trin!

Jamie April 9, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Cookies are a fantastic idea! The 15 minute meeting request really works, too! I’m with Ryan – sending a reminder the morning of the meeting definitely helps with meeting retention. Plus, if they are going to cancel then you will also know before hand and can plan accordingly!

Great post!

Rishi Shah April 10, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Thanks Jamie! Sending a reminder email is good, but whenever people do that to me… I get the feeling that they think I’m flakey.

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