How to turn down an invitation

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It is inevitable that you or your boss will have to turn down an invitation now and again. There may be a prior appointment, something might happen to prevent you or your boss from attending after you have already accepted, the event may be unsuitable for political, ethical or other reasons. Whatever the reason, follow these guidelines to turn down the invitation professionally.

5 guidelines for turning down an invitation

Depending on the kind of invitation, all or some of these five guidelines
will be appropriate.

  1. Reply to an invitation as soon as possible. This applies to whether you are accepting or turning it down.
  2. If you first accept, then realize you’re not going to be able to make it, let the other person know without delay.
  3. Refer to the specific event and date.
  4. Say (briefly) why you are not attending.
  5. Send your wishes for a successful event.
  • I’m sorry but I can’t make it to your stand at the trade fair. I would, however, be very interested in receiving information about your latest models.
  • I’ll definitely try to be there next time.
  • I won’t be able to come this time, but I’m looking forward to receiving an invitation to the next event.

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If someone invites you or your boss to an event that you do not want to go to because it is against your principles – for example if you receive an invitation hosted by an extremist political party – make it clear that you are not interested and that you will not be interested in future events.

  • Mr Morris has asked me to tell you that he does not want to be associated with your political party / religious group / gun club and he will not be attending the event. He asks you to refrain from sending him invitations in the future.
  • Please delete me from your email distribution list.