It's highly likely that not all the people that you invite to a meeting will come. Although for some meetings this may not really be that important, for some it will be.
So, for those important meetings where you think somebody should attend, what can you do if say they can't go? Do you speak to their manager or send an email to them where you force or demand that they come?
Although this may work, it'll just make the person resent you, or worse, it could make a new enemy at work. Neither of which is ideal. So what can you do?
There are two ways of getting them to attend:
- Offer to change the meeting time or date
- Persuade them to change their mind
To be honest, offering to change the time and/or date of a meeting for just one or two people is not ideal for obvious reasons, but it is an option. The second option is better. But how do you persuade somebody to suddenly change their mind and decide to go? The simple answer is, 'you have to manipulate them'.
Convincing them to come
Most people are worried about their jobs in some way. They may be worried about the possibility of losing it or in damaging their career prospects. So if you want to get somebody to change their mind and attend a meeting they said they couldn't go to, you have to use these fears. Make them aware it is in their best interest to attend the meeting.
In this online exercise on writing business emails, you'll see some examples where this is being done. I'll both show you and explain the purpose of three emails in English that you can use when you want to persuade somebody to attend a meeting they said they couldn't go to. In addition, you'll learn some useful vocabulary and phrases that you can use in your own emails and see how to structure what you write.
Please be aware, that using these type of emails won't be successful 100% of the times you try, but you'll get more people attending meetings than if you didn't use them.
In addition, I don't recommend that you use these tactics all the time. You should only use them in situations where you think it's important that the people come.
Exercise & Examples:
In the following 3 emails, Sue Jenkins is trying to persuade three different people to attend a meeting on an IT problem who had said they couldn't come. Each of the emails takes a different tactic to convince the person to attend.
Look at the emails and think about how email is trying to persuade the person to attend. Then from the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.
Click to see more email/letter exercises & examples
Thanks for getting back to me about the meeting.
I appreciate that you're very busy at the moment. As I said in the invitation I sent you, in the meeting we're going to be looking at the problems we've had with the loss of customer data. To be honest, we still don't know the full extent. We may have lost the data for 1,000 customers or 500,000. In addition, there is also some indications that it could have been stolen.
As you can imagine, no matter what the cause, it's going to have major consequences on the company. That why we need to be fully prepared for any eventuality. And that's the reason why we felt that your attendance was necessary.
If you could reconsider attending the meeting, we'd all appreciate it.
Thanks for getting back to me about the meeting.
It's a shame that you can't attend the meeting on Thursday. You'll be the only person invited that won't be attending (The director of customer services has also asked to attend).
It would have been an excellent opportunity to have all the relevant areas together to see how we can quickly deal with this problem and limit the consequences.
It's highly likely that we'll have to organise another meeting when you can be available. I'll discuss this with the attendees in the meeting and let you know what they think.
Thanks for letting me know that you can't attend the meeting on Friday afternoon.
I've spoken to the other attendees (Paul Daniels, Keith Richards etc...) and we've all agreed that we can move the meeting to a time and date which is more suitable for your schedule.
Please advise me of a time and a date which is more suitable for your schedule.
Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.
When the answer is correct, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on it to find extra information about the word/phrase (e.g. when, where and how to use etc...).
Now that you understand what to do and the vocabulary, practise it by writing your own email in English to persuade somebody attend a meeting with the new words/phrases.
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