Identify the purpose
It is important that you have a justifiable reason to send out a cancellation letter to all participants. The reason should be clear to the reader and must not be an excuse for an irrelevant personal matter. For instance, the reason of cancellation may be the death of someone close to a participant, who needed to be present at the meeting. However, it must not be for your own personal convenience, where you simply postpone a planned event because you cannot make it.
In the opening paragraph, inform the employees/participants about the emergency/incident which has forced you to cancel the meeting at such a short notice. Mention the date, time and location of the meeting for easy reference. You may also include the reason of the delay, cancellation or postponement.
In the second paragraph, you can continue detailing the reason behind the cancellation. As mentioned before, make sure that your reason is a valid one, which can be backed by a logical explanation. If the participants feel you are simply delaying the meeting for no real reason, your own impression and reputation will suffer. However, if you cannot disclose the reason, you should sincerely apologize to all involved and propose a new date and time.
In the final paragraph, inform the participants that you are truly sorry for any inconvenience. You can leave your contact details so they can reach you in order to clarify any queries they may have themselves. If possible, set a new date and time for the meeting and assure them that it will not be delayed further. Sign the letter and request acknowledgement.
Tips for Writing a Meeting Cancellation Letter
If possible, make sure that the cancellation letter is written well in advance, giving participants time to make arrangements. Make sure that you keep the tone direct, yet apologetic, conveying how you too are disappointed by the inconvenience caused by the unavoidable cancellation. Keep the letter as concise and to the point as possible. The letter may take an informal form, depending on whom you are addressing it to.
- You might want to apologize to important/senior participants by name.
- Proof read your letter to make sure it has no grammatical or spelling errors.
- Try to keep things as transparent as possible in order for efficient communication and timely responses.
- Cancelling meetings is not generally advised or encouraged.