Helga Written by Helga

How to Write a Polite Meeting Cancellation Email

How to Write a Polite Meeting & Event Cancellation Email (with Templates and Examples)

Part 1: Meeting cancellation emails
    1.1. What is a meeting cancellation email?
    1.2. When and why you should write an appointment termination email
    1.3. Step-by-Step: How to write a meeting cancellation email
    1.4. Best examples of meeting cancellation emails
Part 2: Event cancellation emails
    2.1. What is an event cancellation email?
    2.2. When should you write an event cancellation letter?
    2.3. Why do you need to write an event cancellation letter?
    2.4. Step-by-step: How to write an event cancellation email
    2.5. Best examples of the event cancellation email

While everybody makes plans and schedules appointments, only some things are always doable. Under certain circumstances, regardless of whether we cause them or not, we must change our plans.

Timetable changes presume that other people adjust their schedules, too, sometimes not to their advantage. At times, this might cause them trouble. Thus, whenever we have to annul an appointment or reschedule it, we have to notify other people and make sure they are fine with those changes. A proper way to do this would be to write an email to cancel the meeting or event.

This guide will provide comprehensive guidance and practical tips on crafting polite and effective cancellation emails, covering meeting and event scenarios. You'll find valuable templates and examples to adapt to your needs, ensuring a smooth and considerate cancellation process.

Part 1: Meeting cancellation emails

What is a meeting cancellation email?

An email canceling a meeting is a polite and official way to withdraw from a scheduled appointment. You write it to either call off or reschedule your online or offline meeting. On the one hand, such an email is a formality; on the other, it is an official yet personal way to notify the recipient of the change in plans and apologize for the inconvenience in advance.

meeting cancellation email


When and why you should write an appointment termination email

Although the best way to terminate an appointment would be to make a phone call as soon as possible, writing an email to cancel a meeting is often more convenient. Some of the typical situations when you ought to send a meeting cancellation email are as follows:

  • You cannot make it to the meeting because you fell ill;
  • An error in scheduling has occurred, and it has turned out that there is no available time slot for the meeting;
  • You cannot make it on time because of traffic problems;
  • Your plans have changed so that the appointment is not relevant anymore, or you suddenly need to be somewhere else due to work or family-related issues;
  • Attending the meeting is impossible due to changes in your schedule.

So, whenever or for whatever reason you are about to cancel a meeting, email is a perfect medium to do this because everyone has email addresses, and everyone checks their emails. Besides, an email does not require a person to respond immediately. It gives your recipient the time to think the message through.

Unlike a direct call, an email will reach the person conveniently. If you want to be sure that your recipient has received your message and will respond, you can also notify them of a meeting revocation on the phone. In most cases, sending an email is sufficient.

Step-by-Step: How to write a meeting cancellation email

Before you terminate an appointment, put yourself in the other’s shoes. Imagine all the inconvenience this might cause them and try to milden their dissatisfaction through politeness and apology. So, the critical rules for crafting a meeting cancellation email template are politeness, timeliness, and reasonableness.

1. Write an email yourself

First of all, do not leave this task to your assistant. It is better to dedicate some time and write it yourself, or at least from your email address. If you must, have your assistant remind you to write such an email. If you are new to business emailing, see these basic rules for writing effective emails.

2. Give advanced notice for canceling your meeting

Secondly, you should give notice well in advance when terminating an appointment. Calling it off half an hour before the scheduled meeting is bad manners, at the very least. Make it so that a person has enough time to adjust his or her schedule. If it is a last-minute email, you need to have a very good reason. Use online agenda planners like Google Calendar to avoid forgetting anything and stay organized.



3. Provide a reasonable explanation about why a meeting has to be postponed

You need to explain why you cannot attend. Otherwise, a person might think you are canceling because you just decided to do so, and they may start to believe you are not a reliable person. You need not give a very detailed explanation to keep the message brief and to the point.

4. Propose a time to reschedule

Suggesting a new time means meeting this person is still important to you. Show that you are interested in the appointment despite the need to terminate it. Propose a few time slots, but stay open to counter-proposals. 

Give others the possibility to adjust their schedule. Incorporate a CTA button with a link to your calendar in the email signature so your recipient can choose the best time available. According to recent data, 28.2% of users prefer clickable buttons in email signatures to schedule meetings or appointments. Online tools like Newoldstamp can help you incorporate professional clickable signatures into your business correspondence.

email signature with meeting

Just sign up for a new account, go to Signature Apps, choose Scheduling, select one of the predesigned buttons, and add a link to your scheduling app or calendar.

5. End the letter with appreciation

At the end of your email, you should thank the person for considering your situation. Appreciate that they have found the time to read your email and maybe even compromise their plans in your favor. You should understand that it is not that easy to make schedule adjustments, especially for business people.

6. Send your cancellation email as soon as possible

Do not linger over your email once you’ve written it. The sooner you click the Send button, the easier it will be for your correspondent to make changes in their schedule, and the more chances they will do so. In absolutely no case should you postpone sending your email to cancel a meeting until the very last minute.

If you reschedule a meeting with multiple people, do it well before the appointed time. When you do it at the last minute, remember that it will take a lot of work to plan a meeting that all attendees can attend. It takes a lot of effort to agree upon a suitable time slot for everyone. It could help if you asked each participant to suggest their date and time or proposed a few openings yourself. Also, prepare to be flexible: it can happen that all of your suggested time slots will not suit the participants.

To save time emailing each meeting participant separately, use the Cc (the recipients can see each other's email addresses) or Bcc (you keep the recipients private) options in your email client.

multiple people meeting cancellation

7. Follow up with a personal apology email for canceling a meeting

When rescinding an appointment, always ensure that the other party has received your message and considered it. You can write a meeting cancellation email follow-up later to see whether the person has accepted your suggested time slot and that they do not hold grudges for terminating a scheduled encounter. In such an email, you need to reiterate your apologies, thank the other person for their understanding, and include a call to action asking them to reply to this email, call you, or RSVP to a created event in the online calendar.

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Best examples of meeting cancellation emails

Now that you have the essential tips on canceling a meeting via email let’s see some samples of how to nullify an appointment correctly and politely.

Example1. Canceling a staff meeting by a boss

Dear Team,

I am writing to inform you that, due to an unforeseen and emergent situation, I have no choice but to cancel our staff meeting tomorrow at 11 a.m. regarding our Roadmap.

Please accept my sincere apologies for such short notice and any inconvenience this may have caused.  I know how important it is for you to work out a plan for the next quarter.

I will write to you by the end of the week and suggest a new appointment date.

Kind regards,

cancellation email example

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Example 2. Cancel a meeting: email example for (potential) business partners

Dear Mrs. [ ],

I regret to inform you that I have to cancel our meeting scheduled at 11 a.m. on Monday, 13th, regarding our companies' future collaboration. My assistant has notified me that I must take a business trip to Tokyo, which cannot be postponed. I sincerely apologize for all the inconvenience and my short notice. I assure you that I wrote to you as soon as I learned about this change of plans.

I look forward to our meeting, which we can reschedule for the week of the 20th once I am back. For example, we could set our appointment date to Wednesday, 22nd. Please confirm that you have received my email and suggest a new date for our meeting that will suit you.

Thank you once again for your consideration.

meeting cancellation email example

Example 3. Canceling an appointment at an official institution

Dear Mr. [ ],

I am sorry, but I have to cancel our appointment regarding my Retirement Plan scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, 13th November. My youngest daughter has been hospitalized with some complications, and I have to be at the hospital.

Unfortunately, I cannot suggest a new time slot right now because I need to know what we are dealing with. I will contact you as soon as I know the details. If you need any information, please email me at this email address.

I thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Best regards,

meeting cancellation email example

Create a professional email signature to power up your business emails.

Part 2: Event cancellation emails

What is an event cancellation email?

Writing an event cancellation email can be difficult if you don’t know the writing tactics. An email that informs the audience about the cancellation of the event is called an event cancellation email. It should ideally be sent at least a few weeks or months beforehand and might contain information about the next event. Also, many organizations have admitted that cancellation emails are one of the most challenging things to write because you are crushing many attendees' dreams of attending.

Canceling an event might cost you some of your attendees who had been anticipating it. Therefore, it’s important to hit the right chords in the email and let them know that you are really sorry about this. If possible, provide incentives for the next event, like a small discount or something similar.

Important content in an event cancellation email:

  • Relevant reasons for cancellation,
  • Details of the event, why it’s canceled,
  • Further steps to be taken by an attendee,
  • Refunds, if needed.


When should you write an event cancellation letter?

The cancellation emails must be sent to your attendees before an event occurs. You need to indicate where the event was supposed to take place and write the date, time, and location. Also, you have to include details about the cancellation and the fact that, due to unavoidable circumstances, it was closed. The emails should be sent as soon as possible before the event so that you give your attendees time to change their schedules.

Also, if there is some speculation about the cancellation, do not send the email. It is advisable to inform registrants only after the final decision has been made. But do not cancel an event just a few days before the event day. Attendees may perceive this as unprofessional or unorganized hosts.

It would be best if you also considered that some attendees are coming from other countries for international conferences or seminars and have flight and accommodation bookings that would need to be canceled.

Why do you need to write an event cancellation letter?

The main reason for writing an event cancellation letter is glaringly apparent. If you do not send an email about a canceled event, you will lose all your registrants and attendees. They will never attend any other event hosted by you or your organization or company in the future.

First, host an event only if you are sure about it. Of course, in case of a cancellation situation, you will write a short email explaining the circumstances of why the organizers canceled the event. But you have to ensure that people will understand your reasoning in case it is undeniable.

When people have questions or complaints regarding the cancellation, answer them with a simple explanatory tone and try to make them understand the need to cancel.

Step-by-step: How to write an event cancellation email

Now that you know all the information regarding  “what”, “when,” and “why,” let’s jump right into the step-by-step guide. We will take you through the whole procedure briefly and try to explain every bit of it. To write a cancellation email, follow the steps given below:

1. Choose the correct format for your event cancellation letter

Doing this might be challenging since you don’t know which format is better for your audience. First, let’s go through the basics. There are two types of formats: one is formal, which requires professional wording and is written for big events like international webinars or seminars, and the other is less formal, which includes a friendly approach.

The less formal format may be used for smaller local events or parties that concentrate on local audiences and youth. Official events must follow the formal format to maintain office decorum.

Termination-Letter-for-Employee-Sample (1)

2. Inform the recipients about the cancellation

You must write an appropriate subject line, such as ‘Event has been Cancelled,’  ‘Cancelled Event,’ or ‘Unfortunate Cancellation.’ Such subject lines highlight the purpose of this event—that it has been canceled—and thus inform the recipient about it.

After the subject line clearly proves the motive of this email, you may start describing the rest of the details in the body, but start by saying and adding content such as “the event has been canceled,” “unfortunately, the event has been canceled,” and similar phrases.


3. Give a reason why the event was canceled

Mention the reason elaborately in the email. This must take the maximum space, among other details, in the body of the email. Even though I mentioned that it should be an “elaborate” and “detailed” explanation, it should be short, like a maximum of 100-200 words. Try to stay professional and to the point.

4. Write an apology for the cancellation of the event in your email

This is an absolute necessity in the event cancellation message. An apology is a must, either when starting a few lines or when adding them to the next paragraph before explaining the reasons.

You may write the examples given below to apologize: 

  • “We are sorry to inform you”,
  • “On behalf of the committee/organization, I apologize,”
  • “Please accept our sincere apologies,” and so on.

One of the most crucial parts of the email is to apologize for canceling the event. Without it, you may sound rude and disrespectful.


5. Issue terms of refund in your event cancellation message

In a cancellation email, a recipient is looking for refund terms or is ready to backfire on you by writing an email asking for a refund. This can develop tension between you and your attendee because of money; in most cases, money is the root of all disputes. Therefore, clearly mention the terms and conditions of the refund and how the participants will receive their money due to the cancellation event.

Also, mention the amount that will be taken as a commission or service fee. A big and renowned organization that takes a large sum of money must return the money as stated in the rules and regulations.  


6. End the letter with appreciation

Finally, after writing the whole email, write a few words of appreciation. This will add a soft touch to your professional copy and make your email look classy. This appreciation is important to let participants know that the time and money they spent on registration has been considered and valued.

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You may add sentences like:

  • We really appreciate the time you have given us,
  • Your interest in this conference is highly appreciated,
  • We are sorry for the inconvenience caused,
  • It was a pleasure talking to you, and we wish you all the best.


7. Send the letter as soon as possible

The audience will be looking forward to this event and will schedule themselves accordingly. Such cancellation news might break their hearts, especially if it is sent a few days before the event.

To avoid all issues, the event cancellation announcement must be made long before the actual date of the event. And only after the final decision has been made should the cancellation email be sent as soon as possible.

Best examples of the event cancellation email

Here are some examples that explain all the points given above. After reading all those tips, it is easier to see these emails visually, which will make writing an event cancellation notice easier.

Following are some examples of the event cancellation emails:


This image is more like a template but explains a lot about how to apologize, the reasons for cancellation, words of appreciation, and the upcoming event.

hampton bay days post


The above email provides their participants with the cancellation details and funding information—which is very important for any email campaign. It’s great to be clear and concise. You should explain the event's cancellation, why the participants could not attend it, and how to make a refund immediately.

Think about the entire email

We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge and tools to write polite and effective cancellation emails for both meetings and events. 

Рere are the main “hows” of writing cancellation emails:

  • Appreciate other people’s time
  • Give a good reason for terminating the appointment
  • Thank the person for their understanding of your situation
  • Show your interest in talking to the person in the future
  • Be proactive and suggest a new time slot
  • Be polite and courteous

Also, always double-check the text for grammar, typos, and spelling mistakes before emailing. Make sure you add all relevant information about the meeting and/or event that is being canceled and the contact information of the responsible person or host. You can do this by adding a signature at the email footer.

Using Newoldstamp, an email signature creator, allows you to attach the signature with the contact details and professional banner in a couple of simple steps.

With these additional considerations, you can demonstrate your professionalism and ensure a smooth cancellation process for both meetings and events.




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CMO at Newoldstamp at Newoldstamp

Helga is a growth marketer with 7+ years of experience. Since 2015 Helga has switched to SaaS market. Prior to joining NEWODLSTAMP she successfully cooperated with several SaaS companies that provide top-notch solutions for marketers.

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