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!
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.
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