Etiquette for How to Cancel a Business Meeting in an Outlook Calendar

If you need to reschedule or cancel a meeting, the best approach IMHO is to respond via the Outlook Calendar meeting (versus a separate email, Yammer message, smoke signals, no show, etc.)


  1. Emails related to Calendar invites stand out when one is quickly scanning an inbox, and demand attention/action.
  2. You’re saving time for the organizer as they can quickly reschedule without a bunch of clicks.

Unfortunately there are some ways that, although easy for you, are a bit of a pain the butt for the organizer:

If you simply decline a Calendar appointment, understand that:

  • some folks (*cough* me *cough*) will start to grumble.
  • other folks will start to wonder… (*queue the gossip*) What’s going on? Is everything all right at home? Is it something I did? Are they pissed off? Is our relationship terminated? Did they accidentally click the wrong button?

Declining an appointment means it disappears from your calendar so you’re off the responsibility hook (*yay*), but you’ve now the organizer is left hanging and you’re making extra work for them to track you down, get an answer, update the calendar appointment, etc. One more thing on the endless to do list.

If you choose to decline, at least do the polite thing and enter a word or two of explanation. (How? Use the “Edit the Response Before Sending” option under the decline button.)

If you use the Respond button in the Calendar appointment, giving some context is nice – Are you delayed? Sick? Swamped? Decided our meeting is a lower priority than X, Y, or Z? – but a date/time of when to reschedule would be swell! If you don’t know, at least include a time frame of when you’ll be around to discuss a new date/time for the rescheduled meeting..

If you Propose New Time in the Calendar appointment (and use the Scheduling Assistant to find a window of time where we’re both available!), you’re getting in my good books for life, and likely getting a Bubble Calendar for Christmas. xo