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What to Do When Your Meeting Attendees Don’t Show Up [+ Free Email Templates]

Here’s how to kindly follow up with your colleagues, clients, and stakeholders the next time they miss an important meeting.

If you often run effective meetings, you know how much time goes into planning and preparation. Once you decide who should attend, you likely spend time preparing the agenda, thinking about what action items you’ll need to assign your colleagues, and establishing what you hope will be accomplished. Meetings aren’t always necessary, but when they’re done correctly, they can help you and your teammates develop collaborative processes to achieve specified goals. Meetings can also help you attract and retain new business, and develop relationships with existing clients and stakeholders.

It’s great when meeting attendees establish boundaries in the workplace. It’s not so great when they miss important meeting requests to prioritize other things. Let’s discuss the purpose of a no-show meeting email, when you should send one to a teammate or stakeholder, and how to draft one.

What is a no-show meeting email?

A no-show meeting email is a message sent to an individual who missed a meeting without giving adequate notice. The purpose of these emails is to follow up, offer clear next steps, and schedule a new time to connect. If it’s a teammate who missed the meeting, the no-show meeting email may also offer details about what took place during the conversation.

Meetings worth showing up to

A well-run meeting can foster communication and collaboration by including an agenda the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow! 

When should you send a no-show meeting email?

A no-show meeting email should be sent when a colleague or prospect misses a meeting and doesn’t send their regrets within the first few minutes of the allotted meeting time. If you’ve reached out via email or text to see if they’ll be joining, it’s safe to assume they’ll be a no-show at around the 10-minute mark. Depending on the situation, you can then follow up via email or wait a bit longer. After the 30 to 40-minute mark, it’s safe to assume that they won’t be attending. You can increase the odds of successfully rescheduling the meeting by sending the no-show email in a timely manner. 

How to send a no-show meeting email 

1Be polite and understanding 

Things don’t always go according to plan. Default to the idea that there was a legitimate reason the individual or attendees didn’t show up. Assume they were interested in meeting and draft your email accordingly. By maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll avoid making wrongful assumptions and be ready to tackle the rescheduled meeting with optimism. Thank the attendees for the opportunity to chat about your outlined agenda items in a calm and professional tone. 

2Suggest an alternate date and time 

Propose a date and time to reschedule the meeting. If the individual didn’t send a follow-up email within 30 minutes to let you know that they don’t wish to reschedule, move forward assuming that a new meeting will take place. Send the email in a timely manner to preserve enthusiasm about the topic to be discussed! If the attendee cancels or is a no-show two or more times, send a note asking if they would like to halt meeting communications on the subject for the time being. Use a scheduling app to reduce any unnecessary email chains, and don’t forget to include the timezone of the meeting in your new meeting request! 

3Re-explain the purpose of the meeting 

When you propose a new meeting time, take the opportunity to provide your attendees with additional details. Share what information you plan to cover and why the meeting topic is timely, and remind the individual or group what resources and information they should bring to the rescheduled session. If you’re planning on delegating important tasks to your colleagues during this time, clarify expectations and responsibilities to be discussed. Catch your team or clients up to speed on any urgent information so they feel extra prepared when you do connect. By re-explaining the purpose of the meeting, you’ll empower the attendees to bring their best ideas to the session.

4Propose an alternative way to meet 

Perhaps your prospective client is incredibly busy and doesn’t have the bandwidth for an hour-long Zoom call at the moment. Or, maybe your teammate would prefer to meet over Zoom so they can share their screen to discuss a new idea when it’s their turn to speak. Give your team or stakeholders a chance to give you meaningful feedback about meeting delivery. Offering to communicate with your attendees using their platform of choice will express your desire to connect, regardless of the platform. 

No-show meeting email templates

1Missed phone call meeting

Hi Erin,

I called you earlier at [phone number], but it went to your voicemail. 

I’m looking forward to taking you through our pricing options. At [company name], we offer a wide range of payment plans to meet your organization’s content management needs at a price that makes sense. Please feel free to take a look at our new scheduling features at [hyperlink to relevant webpage]. 

Let me know what days and times work for you next week, and I’ll send along a calendar invite so that we may reschedule. 


[Your name]

2Missed Zoom call meeting

Hi John,

It looks like you weren’t able to attend our Zoom meeting today. I’d still love to show you and your teammates at [their company name] how our product works. 

Are you available sometime next week for a Zoom call? Alternatively, I’m happy to schedule a quick phone call if you’re short on time. Please let me know what works best for you!

I look forward to connecting soon. 

Thank you,
[Your name]

3Missed in-person meeting

Happy Friday Maria, 

I noticed you weren’t able to attend our coffee meeting today.

If you’re available, let’s try again next week. I believe you would be a great fit to receive [your company name]’s services. We love helping talented professionals like you achieve their goals!

Let me know what dates and times work for you and I will send along a new meeting invite.

Talk to you soon!

Kind regards,

[Your name]

How to prevent no-show meetings 

1Send meeting reminders 

With so many conflicting engagements, attendees are bound to forget about a meeting every now and then. Nevertheless, no-shows lead to lost time and productivity. Use Fellow to send automatic pre-meeting reminders that prompt attendees to contribute to the agenda before the meeting starts. Use personalized language so the reminders are authentic and help you improve your relationship with the attendees. If attendees are reminded of their commitments often, they’ll have adequate time to provide notice of cancellation or inform you of a need to reschedule. 

2Share a collaborative meeting agenda in advance

No agenda, no attenda. If you’re unable to provide a meeting agenda at least 24 hours in advance, cancel the meeting to avoid no-shows or wasting your attendees’ time. However, when attendees see the time and effort that has gone into planning a meeting, they’ll be more likely to show up with good ideas and open ears. No one wants to attend an unproductive meeting. Give the meeting a clear purpose in advance to inform your colleagues or stakeholders of the meeting topics’ importance. Building a high-quality meeting agenda will be a game-changer for your effectiveness!

Team Meeting Agenda Items

3Provide meeting time options

Show your teammates and stakeholders that you respect their time by providing multiple time and date options for the meeting. Use a booking tool of your choice or at least three suggested time options for the attendees to choose from. Respect your own time as well; if your attendees don’t show up two times or more, consider whether a meeting is an effective use of your time. 

Goodbye ghosting, hello resilience! 

It’s a sunny Monday morning and you’ve worked all weekend preparing the final details for your upcoming client call. The attendees seemed interested in your team’s new product when you chatted on the phone last week. Now, you’re ready to knock their socks off with a virtual demonstration. You just know that they’ll believe in your vision for their team once they meet with you. However, twenty minutes past the meeting start time, the prospect hasn’t shown up. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, you draft a no-show email that carefully outlines the meeting’s purpose and offers multiple rescheduling options. The client promptly replies to let you know that an urgent work matter prevented them from attending, but they’re able to connect next week. Success! 

No-show meeting emails can feel tricky and awkward, especially when you feel let down by the attendees. Remember that despite your best intentions and effort, sometimes individuals aren’t as prepared as you are to meet and they might cancel at the last minute. As a team-player, you can be resilient by acting promptly and following up with a meaningful note. Your ability to swiftly deal with a no-show might just persuade a new client to meet, a stakeholder to re-engage, or a colleague to reconnect.

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About the author

Brier Cook

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