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Declining Attendance

Guidelines : Declining Attendance

Declining Attendance at Meetings

Guidelines and Alternate Phrases

  • State that you will not attend the meeting. Be sure to include all, or at least some, relevant time, place, or purpose details so your reader is not confused about which meeting.
  • Give the reason for your absence: Do you not want to attend? Is the scheduling a problem? Others may decide to postpone or cancel the meeting according to your response. To give no reason at all makes your decision sound arbitrary.
  • Under doctor’s orders, I must decline to attend the meeting in Atlanta; travel is much too strenuous during my recovery period.
  • After careful consideration of your proposal, I feel my attendance at the meeting would be premature.
  • I’m afraid with only three weeks’ notice I can’t alter my schedule to attend. If you decide to change the meeting date, let me know.
  • I will be unable to attend the May 6 meeting due to a scheduling conflict; I’ll be attending the IAVF convention in Orlando.
  • I regret I won’t be able to participate in the May 12 conference; I’m scheduled for some minor surgery that week.
  • After talking further with our managers about the proposal, I’ve decided attending your May 1 demonstration would be premature in our current situation.
  • I’m afraid your invitation to the March 11 seminar has been misdirected; Ralph MacGregor would likely be more interested in attending than I would. My work primarily entails ….
  • I regret to say I won’t be available on May 30 to attend the review meeting. I’ve scheduled several appointments already for that day–appointments I must keep.
  • Mention how you plan to follow up the meeting results: By sending a representative? By phoning an attendee? By reviewing the meeting minutes?
  • Although I’m involved in another major project right now and can’t attend the meeting personally, perhaps one of my staff can sit in for me. Is that acceptable to you?
  • I will plan to phone the week after your meeting to hear the results of the group’s discussions.
  • John Hayden will be taking good notes for me in the meeting and will report the results to the group.
  • I’ll plan to phone Marty Pewter after your meeting to get the details.
  • I’ll be sure to get a copy of the meeting minutes.
  • Frank Smith will give me a review of the suggestions turned up in the meeting.
  • Wish the meeting planner success with the meeting.
  • I hope the meeting will be all you expect.
  • Here’s to a productive two days.
  • With such advance planning, the meeting’s certain to go well.
  • The meeting attendees’ list looks impressive. I’m certain your conclusions and recommendations will be sound.
  • Have a good meeting!
  • A meeting of the minds–sounds like a great idea. Good luck.
  • I’m looking forward to hearing any suggestions from the meeting.
  • Forward any approvals, information, or comments that will be necessary for the meeting to be successful for the rest of the group.

Example 1: Sample letters for declined the meeting

Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip


City, State Zip

Dear Diedra:

I regret to say I will be in New York the week your representative will be here (August 5) to discuss how our employees can begin to complete undergraduate business courses and degree requirements while on the job. The special “hook-up” from our company to your campus sounds exciting.

I have asked Garrett Smith, however, to attend the meeting and bring me a summary of the how-tos. He will look forward to meeting you here in our fourth-floor conference room about half an hour before the 3:00 p.m. meeting.

Enclosed are my projections for the number of participants interested in each degree plan. I hope this will help in your discussions. I’ll look forward to hearing your ideas via Garrett.


Example 2: Decline an invitation letter





SUBJECT: Absence at Public-Relations Meeting

I will be unable to attend the upcoming public-relations committee meeting to be held Friday, May 8, at the Merrimac in Dallas. Due to my recent heart ailment, my physician has restricted my work schedule to three hours a day and has advised me not to travel.

I’ll be in touch with Alice Henry, however, after May 8 to catch up on discussions and decisions made in my absence.

Enclosed you will find my nominations for the upcoming scholarships our branch would like to offer. Also, I’m returning my marked ballot for the STA election.

Best wishes for a productive meeting.

Example 3: Declined the meeting

Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip


City, State Zip

Dear Mr. McKinney:

I’m sorry to say I will be unable to attend your October 9 Roundtable. I’d like to say the reason is I’ll be sunning in the Mediterranean, but the truth is I’m simply two weeks behind in a major project and cannot afford the time away from the office.

I have asked Matt Johnson to attend in my place, to share our latest concerns with you and to bring back all the suggestions he can garner from the meeting. Matt has been most intimately involved in the work and can no doubt contribute to your meeting far more adequately than I.

The agenda sounds full of challenge. I’ll do my best to find answers to our concerns.



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