Whether it’s because of an unexpected delay, travel issues, or a schedule mix-up, canceling plans is sometimes inevitable. Breaking the news to the person you are missing an appointment with can be daunting, but if you are honest and polite and let them know as soon as possible, they will most likely be understanding. Reschedule at the same time you cancel or as soon as you can, and offer to meet somewhere closer to where they are to make rescheduling more convenient for them.
EditCanceling Your Appointment Politely
- Contact the person your appointment is with as soon as you can. The longer you wait to cancel your appointment, the more you are inconveniencing the person you are meeting with. Giving plenty of notice will show that you respect them and their time.
- Call to cancel your appointment personally if you are giving short notice. If you are giving less than a day’s notice, you should call the person your appointment is with directly. Emailing, texting, or having an employee notify them for you can come off as inconsiderate when you are inconveniencing them with a last-minute change.
- Offer a sincere apology. Even if you are giving plenty of notice, let them know you are sorry for canceling the appointment. They may have given up other plans to meet with you, and you may have caused them an inconvenience by canceling.
- A brief, simple apology is enough, like “So sorry I can’t make it work this time.”
- Avoid using vague language or saying that you “might” not be able to make the appointment. It’s better to be straightforward and honest.
- Explain briefly why you can’t make it. If you have a good reason, like travel problems or a sickness, simply let them know that’s why you had to cancel. If you have a less acceptable reason, like you just forgot about the appointment or accidentally double-booked yourself, give a general explanation such as “Something came up that I can’t get out of.”
- There’s no need to go into great detail about why you are canceling, even if you’re being honest. Elaborating too much can make it seem like you’re making something up.
- Never say that “something more important came up,” or anything to that effect.
- Don’t make up excuses. You’ll run the risk of the other person finding out you weren’t honest, which could worsen the situation.
- Let them know you value their time. Make sure to emphasize that you appreciate them scheduling the appointment with you, and that you regret having to cancel. Make it clear that you recognize their time is not unlimited.
- This is especially important if the other person was meeting with you as a favor, like a professional in your field with more experience.
EditRescheduling for Another Time
- Offer to reschedule when you cancel. Not only will this save you the hassle of trying to reschedule later, it will show that you are still interested in the appointment. When you call or email to cancel, you should end by saying that you would like to reschedule at the other person’s convenience.
- List a few time slots you are available to meet in. You should do your best to accommodate the other person’s schedule, but it’s helpful to give them a few options to choose from. Figure out 3 or 4 times you are available, and ask whether those times are convenient for them.
- For instance, you could say, “I’m free Friday after 2pm, anytime Monday, or Tuesday between 1pm and 5pm. Do any of those work for you, or is there another time that would be more convenient?”
- Offer to meet somewhere closer to them. To compensate for canceling your first meeting, it’s a good idea to try and make the rescheduled appointment more convenient for them somewhere. Offer to meet them at their office or somewhere close to where they will already be at that time.
- You can also suggest meeting by Skype or Google Hangouts if the person you are trying to reschedule with is very busy or far away.
- Choose a time when you know you can make it. After canceling once, it may be even more irritating or inconvenient to cancel again, and you may damage your standing with the person your appointment is with. Look at your schedule carefully and make sure the time you agree to will work for you, and there is not a strong chance of anything unexpected coming up during that time.
- If you don’t have anything booked in December, for instance, but you know that your schedule tends to fill up around the holidays, it’s best not to reschedule your appointment for that time.
- Make a note of the time you choose to meet. Once you decide on a time to reschedule your appointment for, put it into your calendar. You may also want to make a physical note and put it somewhere you will see it to remind yourself.
- Thank them for their patience when you do meet. Start your appointment off by thanking the person or people you are meeting with for rescheduling. There’s no need to apologize again, but showing that you appreciate them for working with your schedule will indicate that you value their time.
- You should avoid canceling appointments whenever possible, as it can reflect badly on you and may damage your connections.
- If you are meeting with someone whose services you are paying for, like a consultant, check to see whether they have a cancellation policy.