How to Reschedule a Meeting Professionally

Read Time: 3 minutes

Franchesca Tan

Franchesca Tan

Updated: Feb 12, 2024

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Be it at work or in personal life, unexpected circumstances arise and lead to the need to reschedule meetings. Whether it’s a sudden conflict, an urgent matter, or simply a change in priorities, knowing how to navigate the process of rescheduling meetings professionally is essential.

This becomes even more crucial when working across different cultures, where norms and expectations vary. In this article, we'll explore the art of rescheduling meetings gracefully and provide tips on how to do it effectively.

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Common reasons for rescheduling meetings

Before diving into the mechanics of rescheduling, it's important to understand what constitutes a valid reason for changing a meeting time. While some situations may be unavoidable, others may require careful consideration. Valid reasons for rescheduling a meeting include conflicting commitments, emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. 

There are times when meeting options tied to higher priorities are constrained and the only possible choice would be to schedule it overlapping an existing commitment. When a sudden conflict like an unexpected client meeting or a pressing deadline arises, it's acceptable to reschedule the original meeting to another day.

However, sometimes unforeseen emergencies or circumstances can also come up. For example, when it comes to illness or family matters, it's essential to prioritize personal well-being and reschedule the meeting accordingly. Other unexpected circumstances can include transportation issues, power outages, or internet connectivity problems. These events are beyond your control, making it necessary to reschedule a meeting. 

The right way to reschedule a meeting

When it becomes evident that rescheduling a meeting is necessary, it's helpful to handle the situation with professionalism and courtesy.

As soon as you realize the need to reschedule the meeting, notify all participants promptly. Provide a brief explanation for the change in plans and express your apologies for any inconvenience caused. It’s up to you how much context you would like to provide, but respecting your privacy is also just as important.

When proposing a new meeting time, offer several alternative dates and times to accommodate the schedules of all participants. Be flexible and considerate of their availability. Once all participants have agreed on a new meeting time, confirm the rescheduled meeting in writing. This can be done via rescheduling tools or through a calendar invitation, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Avoid rescheduling a meeting once it’s already begun, as this can be perceived as disrespectful of other people’s time. Alternatively, if the meeting ends up becoming unnecessary, don’t reschedule it unless it provides value. 

Best practices for rescheduling meetings

To ensure a smooth and respectful rescheduling process, be transparent. Clearly communicate the reasons for rescheduling the meeting and provide as much notice as possible to allow participants to adjust their schedules accordingly.

Express genuine apologies for any inconvenience caused by the need to reschedule the meeting. Acknowledge the impact on participants' time and demonstrate empathy.

Also maintain a professional tone and demeanor throughout the rescheduling process. Avoid assigning blame or making excuses, focusing instead on finding a mutually agreeable solution.

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Automate Rescheduling with Doodle

For professionals who want to increase productivity, automating the scheduling and rescheduling process can be transformative. With Doodle, organizers and participants can easily reschedule meetings with just a few clicks. 

Meetings scheduled with Doodle come with a rescheduling link, so participants can avoid the discomfort of asking and the added back-and-forth that often accompanies rescheduling. 

With its seamless integration with calendar platforms like Google Calendar, Microsoft 365 and Apple Calendar, Doodle streamlines the scheduling process, allowing teams to focus on what matters most. Only available appointment alternatives would be offered.

Rescheduling meetings is a common and unavoidable occurrence in today's dynamic business landscape. But when done with grace and efficiency, a seemingly negative situation can become an opportunity to create a positive impression instead.

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