Meeting Cancellation Emails: How to Write One [+ Examples]

Learn how to reschedule meetings ASAP if you have a scheduling conflict or if you’re feeling sick. Plus, see examples.

If you need to cancel a meeting, notifying your teammates both promptly and professionally is imperative. The quickest and most efficient way you can make your teammates aware of a canceled meeting is by crafting a meeting cancellation email. In this article, we’ll cover the importance of sending a cancellation email in addition to tips and best practices for crafting a professional meeting cancellation email. 

What is a meeting cancellation email?

A meeting cancellation email is a note crafted in the form of an email to notify meeting attendees that a meeting has been canceled. Usually used in a professional setting, a meeting cancellation email is a great way to cancel a meeting properly. Sending out this email means everyone who was supposed to attend the meeting will be notified promptly that the meeting has been canceled. 

These emails can be used if you’re sick, are running late, have a scheduling conflict, or simply have too much work to conduct the meeting. It’s important that you send these emails well in advance so everyone who was supposed to attend has time to rework their schedules and account for that time differently. 

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Why is it important to send a meeting cancellation email? 

If you’re going to cancel a meeting, it’s imperative that all guests are notified ASAP. Canceling a meeting without first notifying the guests is extremely disrespectful. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a video meeting and waiting 10-15 minutes just to find out that the meeting has been canceled, especially when you could be spending your time more wisely elsewhere.  

To show your respect for attendees, remain cordial and respectful by crafting a meeting cancellation email that you can circulate promptly before the meeting is set to occur. It’s best to finish the email by expressing your gratitude for the attendees’ understanding so they still feel valued and appreciated. 

8 tips on how to write a meeting cancellation email

1Include a clear subject line 

It’s no secret that our inboxes are often jammed full of unopened emails. Sending your cancellation email with a clear subject line is a great way to ensure it gets noticed amongst other emails. The subject line may be the only opportunity you get to convey your message, so you should craft it meticulously. Make sure you include the name of the meeting and explicitly outline that it’s been canceled. If people choose not to click the email and read the thread further, they will at least be notified that the meeting has in fact been canceled. 

2Write it yourself 

These emails should be clear, concise, and sincere, and the chance of hitting these notes if you aren’t the one crafting the email is very slim. As the host or meeting facilitator, you should be the one sending out the meeting cancellation. If the cancellation comes from another source, attendees may be hesitant to take it verbatim. If everyone isn’t on the same page with the cancellation, there may be mixed messages and some people may still show up for the meeting. 

3Send it ASAP

The point of a cancellation email is to notify attendees that the meeting has been canceled, so it’s extremely important that you send the email out as soon as you’re aware of the cancellation. If the attendees no longer have to attend the meeting, they’ll want to have ample notice so they can move forward and plan their time accordingly. They may now be able to use this time to schedule another meeting, wrap up a project, or focus on deep work. If they aren’t notified of the cancellation ASAP, they won’t be able to optimize their time accordingly. 

4Provide a brief explanation 

You should never leave your teammates in the dark, especially when it comes to a meeting you were all supposed to attend together. To demonstrate your respect for your teammates’ time, it’s important that you provide a brief explanation of your reason for canceling. 

5Propose a new date and time

It’s likely that you’ll have to reschedule as opposed to canceling it altogether. Proposing a new date and time for your meeting when you send the cancellation email will ensure all attendees have ample time to review your request. If there’s a scheduling conflict, attendees can simply submit an alternative time that works better for them since they’ll have plenty of time to do so. 

6Apologize 

When canceling a meeting, it’s important to be sincere. It can be nearly impossible to demonstrate the respect you have for your teammates if you don’t take the time to apologize for canceling the meeting. If attendees have agreed to meet, they’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to prioritize your meeting. For this reason, it’s important to take the time to craft a sincere apology that can be included in your cancellation email. 

7Show appreciation

Similar to the way in which an apology is important, demonstrating your appreciation is also crucial. It can be annoying or even overwhelming if someone cancels an email on a whim, especially if the host or facilitator doesn’t take the time to offer a sincere apology in addition to expressing their gratitude. If your teammates are willing to cancel or reschedule the meeting, it’s important that you show your appreciation by thanking them for being flexible and accommodating. 

8Ask for a recap 

If the meeting cannot be rescheduled and instead moves forward without you, it’s important that you ask for a meeting recap. Asking for a recap will ensure you don’t miss out on any crucial information that was discussed in your absence. A recap can be provided in the form of thorough meeting notes, a follow-up email, or even a meeting recording. If you aren’t going to be in attendance, it’s important that you ask those who will be to record the meeting. This way you can review any and all information at your earliest convenience. 

Meeting cancellation email examples

1If you’re feeling unwell:

Subject: Product marketing meeting canceled due to illness

Hey team, unfortunately I will have to cancel today’s meeting that is set to occur at 1:00pm as I am feeling unwell. I apologize for the inconvenience and would be happy to reschedule at your earliest convenience.

Please feel free to cross reference my calendar and propose a date and time that works for you later this week. 

Thank you for your understanding, 

Sarah Brown 

Product Marketing Manager 

[email and phone number]

2If you have a family or personal emergency: 

Subject: Product marketing meeting canceled due to family emergency

Hello team, I regret to inform you that I will have to cancel our product marketing meeting that is set to take place today at 3:30pm.  Unfortunately, a family emergency has occurred that requires my immediate attention and I will be unavailable for the remainder of the week. 

I have attached the slide deck I planned to present during our meeting should you decide to move forward in my absence. Alternatively, we can reconvene next week. I apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding during this difficult time. 

Thank you, 

Sarah Brown 

Product Marketing Manager 

[email and phone number]

3If you have a scheduling conflict: 

Subject: Request to reschedule: Product marketing meeting

Hi there, unfortunately I have a scheduling conflict this afternoon that coincides with our scheduled product marketing meeting. I have availability later this week and would be happy to reschedule at a time that works for you. I have attached a link to my calendar so you can see what times I have open. 

I apologize for the last-minute change and look forward to reconnecting at the end of the week. 

Thank you for your consideration, 

Sarah Brown 

Product Marketing Manager 

[email and phone number]

Express your gratitude and demonstrate respect for attendees by canceling your next meeting promptly and professionally

When crafting a meeting cancellation email, it’s important that you do so meticulously and with consideration. You’ll want to make sure you’re clear, concise, and ready to apologize for any inconveniences. If you take these tips, tricks, and best practices into consideration, you’ll be able to send your next meeting cancellation email with confidence. 


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About the author

Hannah Ross

Hannah Ross is an experienced content creator and digital strategist with a demonstrated history of working with SaaS startups and technical founders to develop and manage scalable digital marketing campaigns. As a Social Media and Content Marketing Lead in the tech space, Hannah is incredibly passionate about solving complex marketing problems with innovative solutions.

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