How to Reschedule a Meeting Professionally in 2024

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Jay Fuchs
Jay Fuchs


I‘ve been on both sides of the “how to reschedule a meeting” dilemma. I’ve found myself scrambling to book new times with contacts, and I've received my fair share of “So sorry, but I need to reschedule,” emails — and all of those instances were handled with varying degrees of tact and professionalism.

salesperson rescheduling a meeting professionally

It can be tough to know how to reschedule a meeting appropriately and effectively. I‘ll be the first to admit that I could have been better at it at points in my career — so to help you avoid the common hitches and hiccups you might run into when trying to reschedule a meeting, I’ve compiled this handy guide.

Let's take a look.

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How to Reschedule a Meeting Professionally

If you don't have time to dig into the why, how, and what of rescheduling a meeting — potentially because you‘re late to a meeting you didn’t know how to reschedule because you‘re only just discovering this article — here’s a quick rundown of the key elements of rescheduling a meeting professionally:

  • Only reschedule a meeting if you have a valid reason — like illness, a personal emergency, workplace crisis, or overlapping meetings.
  • If you have to reschedule a meeting, get in touch with the other relevant stakeholders ASAP — ideally via a quick communication method like chat or email.
  • When rescheduling, be respectful of your fellow stakeholders' time.
    • Give them at least 24 hours' notice.
    • Offer concrete times you can reschedule.
    • Offer context about your schedule — potential through a meeting scheduler tool.
  • When rescheduling, apologize and be polite about the inconvenience.
  • Follow up with them if they don't respond.

And that's that. There are the bare bones of the “reschedule a meeting professionally” process. If you want additional, valuable context about those points, — along with some neat examples — keep reading.

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When should I reschedule a meeting?

You never want to reschedule meetings on a whim — as much as you‘d like to from time to time. Believe me, I’ve definitely had points where I looked at my calendar and thought, “You know what would be awesome? Doing almost literally anything else besides attending this meeting.”

But unless you have a valid reason beyond, “I don't wanna,” you should always stick it out and keep that meeting on the books. Still, there are some valid reasons for rescheduling a meeting, those can include:

  • You're sick. You know what‘s worse than rescheduling a meeting with a prospect, colleague, or customer? Spreading disease. If you’re slated to meet with someone in person while you‘re sick, set another time. Whoever you’re meeting will appreciate you considering their health and well-being.
  • You have a personal emergency. This might be controversial, but I think situations where you or your loved ones' lives are in jeopardy generally take precedence over most weekly 1:1s or team standups — hot take, I know. Seriously though, don‘t grin and bear a meeting when you’re in the middle of a crisis. The stakeholders you‘re meeting with will understand where you’re coming from if you need to reschedule.
  • You have a workplace emergency. I probably don‘t have to tell you this, but your professional life might not always go swimmingly. Workplace issues arise — fires pop up and need to be put out. If you think addressing a problem is more time-sensitive or important than a meeting, don’t hesitate to reschedule.
  • You have overlapping obligations. This one is tough, but you might run into it every now and then. Double bookings happen, and when they do, you‘re best off rescheduling one of those meetings ASAP. It can be tough, but you’ll generally know which meeting needs to stay put and which can be shuffled around — pick one to move and get in touch with the relevant stakeholders as soon as you do.

Now that you have a sense of why you should reschedule a meeting, let's take a closer look at how to go about it.

How to Send a Meeting Reschedule Email

1. Reschedule as soon as you know you can‘t make the meeting — ideally with at least 24 hours’ notice.

This point rests on a combination of professionalism and “not-being-a-jerk-ness.” If you know you can‘t make a meeting, don’t waste time — keeping the other meeting stakeholders on the line for any longer than they have to be is both rude and ultimately unproductive for them.

And if you do have to cancel, try to give any other attendees at least 24-hours‘ notice. Their time is valuable, too — so you should offer them the flexibility to plan around the time that’s about to open up.

2. Lead with a clear subject line.

You want to make a meeting rescheduling as straightforward a process as possible for any other stakeholders — so if you need to send a meeting reschedule email, make sure you lead with a clear subject line.

Quickly cover bases like who you are, your company (if you‘re connecting with an external stakeholder), the meeting date, and that you need to reschedule the meeting. It’s pretty straightforward.


“Jay Fuchs — HubSpot — Need to Reschedule 2/12/24 Meeting”

3. Make sure you personalize the email.

When you‘re trying to reschedule a meeting, you want to make sure you’re directly addressing the person (or people) you‘re connecting with. You don’t want them to think that their time is inconsequential or that they don't matter to you by keeping things impersonal.

Just mentioning their name (or names) at the top of your email can go a long way in letting your contacts know you value them, their input, and their time.

4. Apologize, offer context, and take ownership of the situation.

If you‘re rescheduling the meeting, don’t be arrogant or disregard the fact that you're inconveniencing the other stakeholders. Start your email by quickly assuming responsibility for the fact that the meeting needs to be rescheduled and offer some context as to why.

You don‘t have to pour your heart out, shedding tears on your keyboard as you put your message together — but you don’t want to come off as too callous either.


“I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I need to reschedule our 2/12/24 meeting.”

5. Politely ask to reschedule, and propose a concrete date and time.

When sending a meeting reschedule email, you don‘t want to come off as callous or disinterested — so be sure to be polite when asking for your reschedule. But while you don’t want to strongarm the colleagues or contacts you're meeting with, you need your meeting reschedule email to offer clarity and next steps.

Always offer a concrete, preferred option for when your rescheduled meeting should be set. Doing so demonstrates an appropriate balance of assertiveness and empathy.


“If possible, I propose we reschedule the meeting for March 4th at 3 pm.”

6. Offer some more context about your availability.

There's obviously no guarantee that the time you propose will work perfectly for everyone and make your contact go, “Gee whiz! How the heck did you know the perfect time to reschedule? Of course, we can meet then! Yippee!”

Neat as that would be, it's just not how things work — so be sure to offer your contact some wiggle room. Give a few additional times that would work for you or if you use some sort of virtual calendar or meeting scheduling tool, link to it to give even more context around or visibility into your schedule.


“If that time doesn't work for you, I could also meet on March 5th at 2 pm or March 6th at 1:30 pm. You can also take a look at my calendar to find another time that might work for you.”

7. Follow up if you don't get a response.

If your contact doesn‘t get back to you, make sure you touch base again. You don’t want to lose out on a potential meeting because you were too reluctant to check-in. Remember, as Wayne Gretzky Michael Scott said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”

Meeting Reschedule Email Example

You're probably going to miss your fair share of meetings — that much is beyond your control. What you can control is how you respond and adapt when you have to book a new time. If you have a pulse on how and when to reschedule a meeting professionally and appropriately, you'll minimize friction with contacts and get more out of the relationships you develop.

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