Canceling and Rescheduling Meetings Lesson – #40003

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Canceling and Rescheduling Meetings Lesson – #40003

Rescheduling MeetingsThis is a lesson plan for practicing canceling and rescheduling meetings. First, read the key phrases and tips. Practice saying them aloud.

Then, read the two dialogs and decide which one is better.

Next, practice on your own with the situations listed.

Finally, discuss your answers to the questions with a friend, teacher, or with the MyOvient community by writing a comment.

business englishKEY PHRASES

STEP ONE: APOLOGIZE AND EXPLAIN WHY YOU ARE MISSING THE MEETING

    I am very sorry, but I am running late. I hope to be there in about 30 minutes.
    I’m afraid I will not make it to our meeting due to a problem that just came up at work.
    Unfortunately, an issue just came up at work, and I cannot make it to our meeting this afternoon.
    I apologize for the inconvenience, but I am not going to be able to make it to the meeting tomorrow.
    Due to (problem), I will not be able to make it to the meeting.
    I need to reschedule our meeting because (problem).
    I will need to postpone our meeting. (Explain problem.)

STEP TWO: GIVE AN ALTERNATIVE DATE/TIME:

    Could we meet tomorrow at the same time?
    Are you available on Friday at 2 PM?
    Next week is completely open for me. Please let me know the best time for you.
business englishTIPS

canceling a meetingIf you are going to be late to a meeting, you should send an email, text, or call to let the others know when you’ll arrive. If you have to leave a message, you should, but it’s a good idea to try to talk to someone who can pass along your message. (This could be an administrative assistant or someone else attending the meeting.)

You do not have to tell the other person why you are going to be late, but it will help if you say that it is out of your control. If it is your fault, apologize and tell them you will be there soon. If you need to reschedule the meeting, tell the other person why you need to reschedule and offer another date and time.

If your reason for canceling is personal, you don’t have to explain the details. For example, you can say, “I have a family conflict, and I need to reschedule the meeting.”

business englishDIALOGS

Which dialog is better? Why?

Dialog 1

Ashley: Sue! It’s Ashley. I’m stuck in traffic. I was on the highway and there’s a huge wreck. I tried to exit at Wolfe, but the exit is blocked. I’m going to try another route. It is raining very hard and I don’t know what to do.

Sue: Okay, Ashley, calm down. Just drive slowly and be careful.

Ashley: Okay, I will. I don’t think I’m going to make it to the meeting on time.

Sue: That’s okay. What would you like to do?

Ashley: I guess you can hold it without me and talk about the things I was going to discuss.

Sue: Well, I don’t know if I’m very comfortable covering your topics because I don’t know them very well.

Ashley: What else can I do?

Sue: Did you talk to Eric?

Ashley: I couldn’t get hold of him.

Sue: Did you ask to speak to his admin?

Ashley: No, I’ll try that. I’ll call you back.

Dialog 2

Ashley: Hello, Sue. This is Ashley. Unfortunately, there has been a wreck on the interstate due to the weather, and I am stuck in traffic.

Sue: OK. Thanks for calling. We were just about to head into the conference room for the meeting.

Ashley: I’m glad I caught you then. I’m afraid it looks like I won’t be able to make it to the meeting. Do you think we can postpone it for about an hour?

Sue: I don’t have a problem with that but did you speak to Eric? I know he really wants to present his work today.

Ashley: I left a message on his voicemail. Sue, would you mind letting Eric know the situation? If he would like to hold the meeting without me, I completely understand. Otherwise, I should make it to the office in about 30 minutes and would be happy to meet then.

Sue: Sure. Let me talk to him and I will call you right back.

Ashley: Thank you, Sue. I really appreciate your help, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

business englishPRACTICE

If you have a teacher or study partner, practice these activities and ask for feedback.

SITUATION A: Pretend that there is bad weather and the roads from your house are flooded. You will not make it on time to a meeting and you to need to call and reschedule the meeting. What would you say. Practice saying it.

SITUATION B: Your are scheduled to attend a meeting at 9:00 am with Eric and Sue. It is 8:45 and because of a bad accident on the highway, you are running very late and will not make it on time. You attempt to call Eric’s cell phone to let him know you will be late, but he doesn’t answer. What would you say on his voicemail. Practice saying it.

SITUATION C: You double-booked appointments for 8:00 am with your attorney and your accountant. Your accountant charges a fee for cancellations, so you needs to contact your attorney to reschedule. Write an email that you would send to your attorney, asking to reschedule.

SITUATION D: You have a lunch meeting at 12:00 pm with a customer, but you have a very bad toothache and are going to see a dentist at 11:30 am. You need to call your customer and ask him to move the meeting to a different time. What would you say? Practice saying it.

MyOvient Members: Write your opinions of these two dialogs in the comments below.

business englishDISCUSSION

If you have a tutor or study partner, discuss your opinions to these questions.

  • Have you ever been late to a meeting due to bad weather or traffic?
  • Do you think you should call (or text) someone if you are only going to be 5 minutes late?
  • What do you think are good reasons to cancel a meeting?
  • How do you feel when other people cancel a meeting on you?

MyOvient members: write your answers to these questions in the comments section below. (To become a member, click here.)

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