Ramsey's Rules

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Replying to Invitations is Good Business and Good Manners

Failure to reply to invitations is a common occurrence today. Whether the occasion  is all business, purely social or a combination of business and social, event planners and hosts need and deserve to know whether  you plan to attend or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s a seated meal, a cocktail reception, a meeting or a seminar. The person or organization issuing the invitation needs an accurate count of the attendees in order to provide the right amount of food, beverages and materials.

Replying to invitations is a matter of good business and good manners. It is part of your personal packaging and a demonstration of your professional conduct.

Know the difference between “RSVP” and “Regrets Only.”  If the invitation reads “RSVP,” you are required to answer one way or the other. “Yes,” you are coming, or “no” you are not. If the invitation reads “Regrets Only,” you need only let the hosting individual or organization know that you will not be attending. If you do not reply, the expectation is that you will be present.

As soon as you receive an invitation, check your calendar, make a decision and take action. The only acceptable reason to delay is if you truly are not certain of your plans. It is inconsiderate to wait until the last minute to see if something better comes along before you reply. If you have a legitimate reason for delaying your response, let the hosting group know. Otherwise they may wonder if you received your invitation and will set about having someone call you for your answer.

When you are invited to a meal function and find that you cannot attend after you said you would, you must let someone know of your change of plans. It is unforgivable to accept an invitation to breakfast, lunch or dinner and fail to show. If you do, you probably should be calling from the hospital to explain your absence. In the event of a true emergency that prevents your phoning ahead of time, call your host first thing the next day with your explanation and apology.

When organizations go to the trouble to bring people together for food, fellowship or professional development, they should not have to guess how many will show up. It costs both time and money to operate this way. When businesses plan events for their colleagues and clients, they deserve a professional and thoughtful response.

It is simply a matter of good manners, proper etiquette and professional conduct.

Here’s to your good manners!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Posted by on February 18, 2014.

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Categories: Business Etiquette Newsletter

2 Responses

  1. This is so true! Our daughter got married last year and I was shocked at the people that didn’t bother to return a self addressed/stamped envelope… for a wedding! Then again, the mother of the groom would casually invite people from the office that never even received an invitation. She told me to stop worrying and if we ran out of shrimp, so what! Can you say nightmare? Courtesy in general has become a lost art. I’m glad my mother raised me to know better. 🙂

    by Kathy on Feb 18, 2014 at 10:07 am

  2. Kathy, thank you for your comment. It does seem like an uphill battle, but we keep trying. Lydia

    by Lydia Ramsey on Feb 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

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About Ramsey's Rules

Lydia Ramsey is a leading business etiquette and modern manners expert who offers seminars, keynote speeches, webinars and individual coaching. She works with corporations, associations, colleges and universities as well as individuals. After careers in education, healthcare and non-profits, Lydia formed her own business to pursue her passion for modern manners and professional courtesy. While […]more →