5 steps to apologize for missing a meeting (+template)

Updated on August 2, 2023
how to apologize for missing a meeting

If you miss a meeting with your boss and colleagues, you might be worried that they will think badly of you.

Especially if it was an important work meeting and your presence was very much required. Naturally, an apology is due.

The best way to apologize for missing a meeting at work is to craft an apology to your boss and coworkers that consist of multiple components, including an expression of regret, taking ownership of the mistake, and proposing solutions to amend the inconvenient situation that has been created.

According to science, there is actually a way to structure an apology in order to make it more effective.

Here you will find how to apologize for missing a meeting and restore the trust of your boss and coworkers.

How to professionally apologize for missing a meeting

How to professionally apologize for missing a meeting

Mistakes happen in all lines of work, especially when you function as part of an organization. But how you handle the mistakes you make speaks volumes about the kind of professional that you are.

Here is how to apologize to your boss for missing a meeting and say that you are sorry to any other coworkers who might have been affected in a way, showcasing your professionalism in the process.

1. Take action immediately

Don't beat around the bush and ruminate about it. Contact your boss as soon as you can to communicate your apology. The quicker you act, the better.

2. Acknowledge that you messed up

Acknowledge the fact that you made a mistake instead of focusing on excuses about why you missed the meeting.

Even if the circumstances were outside of your control, your boss and coworkers would respect you for owning up to your mistake.

3. Accept responsibility

Being a true professional means that you are able to take responsibility for your own mistakes.

Acknowledge that you are responsible for this failure. Your boss would be pleased and relieved to find out that you are respectful of their time.

4. Find out how to compensate for your mistake

Ask your boss if there is anything that you can do to make up for missing the meeting.

Taking responsibility and mitigating any damage that you might have done would be appreciated a lot more than any apology or excuse that you might come up with.

It is essential to communicate that you are not simply apologetic but also concerned about how the project is moving forward because that is what matters the most to your manager and coworkers.

5. Apologize to your coworkers separately

Don't forget about any coworkers that might have been affected in any way. Make sure to apologize to them as well and ask them if there is anything that you can do to compensate.

Your coworkers will be a lot more forgiving if you can show them that you are willing to work towards amending the situation and that you are respectful of their time as well.

Missing a meeting in the office can be stressful, so make sure to properly relax after work without ruminating about it.

What to say when you miss a meeting (according to science)

What to say when you miss a meeting (according to science)

You might think that finding the right words to apologize to a manager for missing a meeting is important.

As it turns out, it is not so much about exactly what you say. What matters is how you say it and how you structure your apology.

According to a 2016 study by Professor Roy Lewicki, an apology that contains multiple components is more likely to elicit a positive response from the receivers.

Here are 6 steps that you can take to craft an effective apology.

1. Show regret

“I am so sorry that I missed the meeting…”

2. Provide an explanation

“I was unable to attend because of X, Y, and Z…”

3. Accept responsibility

“This is entirely my fault…”

“The responsibility for this failure is entirely mine…”

4. Express penitence

“I apologize for any damages/failures/inconveniences I have caused… I will do my best not to repeat the same mistake in the future.”

5. Propose a solution

“Can anyone please update me on what I missed so I can keep up?”

“Do you think it will be possible to reschedule the meeting?”

“Here is what I can do to amend the situation…”

6. Ask to be forgiven

“I hope that you will be able to excuse my mistake…”

“Please forgive me for my negligence…”

If you are about to miss the entire work day, then here is how to tell your boss that you are not going to make it to the office.

How to apologize for missing a meeting in an email

Email is one of the best ways to apologize because you can address everyone affected by your absence at once.

Here is how to write an apology email for missing a meeting:

  1. Use the meeting notification email thread to reply.
  2. Add in CC all relevant coworkers and managers.
  3. State that you messed up and how sorry you are.
  4. Ask if there is anything you can do to amend the situation.
  5. Ask if somebody can update you on how the meeting went.

Missed meeting apology email example

Subject: Apology for Missing [Meeting Name]

Dear [Team/Manager's Name],

I sincerely apologize for missing the [Meeting Name] on [Date]. An unexpected issue arose, and I understand the inconvenience my absence may have caused.

Could someone please update me on the key points discussed? If needed, I'm open to rescheduling or taking any steps to rectify the situation.

Thank you for your understanding, and I'm truly sorry once again.

[Your Full Name]

How to request a reschedule when you miss a meeting

In some cases, the project won't be able to move forward without that meeting taking place. A reschedule of the meeting you missed is the only possibility.

Here are the steps that you can take to request a reschedule of the meeting:

  1. Take the time to check the calendars of your boss and coworkers.
  2. Pick a few time slots when they are available.
  3. Send an email with a list of the possible time slots.
  4. Kindly ask which one would suit them best.

How to apologize for missing a Zoom meeting

How to apologize for missing a Zoom meeting

You can apologize to your boss and coworkers for missing a Zoom meeting as soon as you have the opportunity to text them.

It’s fine to text them directly or to send an email to everyone who was impacted by your absence.

Nowadays, Zoom is the go-to conference call application. With the prevalence of remote work, more and more meetings are taking place online rather than in the office.

Still, these work meetings can be quite important, so make sure to apologize properly to your boss and coworkers in case you missed one.

If your boss gets very angry that you missed the meeting, even though you are not somebody who messes up regularly, this could be a sign that they might have a problem with you.

How to apologize for missing a business meeting

Apologize to your business prospect as soon as you can for missing the meeting. Assure them that it was not your intention to waste their time and clearly state that doing business with them is still very much important to you. Kindly ask your prospect if it would be fine to reschedule the meeting.

In this case, it is essential to communicate your wish to reschedule the meeting. This way, you will show the other party involved that doing business with them matters to you a lot.

Hopefully, they will not be offended by you missing the meeting with them, and they will be willing to give you another chance.

If you are going to approach them by email, then here is how to craft an email in a way that will elicit a response.

What I do whenever I miss a team meeting

Whenever I miss a meeting, my first step is always to reach out to my boss without delay. I make sure to acknowledge my mistake and express genuine regret, avoiding unnecessary excuses.

I've found that taking ownership of the error resonates well with my superiors.

Next, I turn to my coworkers. I apologize to them individually, recognizing that my absence may have affected them in different ways.

I ask if there's anything I can do to compensate, showing that I value their time and contributions.

I also make it a point to send a carefully crafted email to everyone impacted following a structured approach, showing regret, providing an explanation without shifting blame, and proposing a solution.

I offer to catch up on what I missed and actively participate in any follow-up actions.

If a reschedule is necessary, I take the initiative to check everyone's calendars and propose new time slots. I make sure to attend the rescheduled meeting at all costs.

Through these actions, I aim to restore trust and demonstrate my commitment to the team and the project.

Missing a meeting is never ideal, but I believe that handling it with professionalism and empathy can turn a mistake into an opportunity to reinforce relationships and values.

Frequently asked questions about missing important meetings

What should I do if I know in advance that I will miss a meeting?

If you know in advance that you will miss a meeting, it's best to notify your boss and coworkers as soon as possible, explaining the reason and asking if the meeting can be rescheduled or if you can catch up later.

How should I handle missing a meeting with a client?

If you miss a meeting with a client, apologize promptly and professionally, emphasizing the importance of their business and proposing new dates for rescheduling. Ensure clear communication to rebuild trust.

Is it acceptable to apologize for missing a meeting via social media or messaging apps?

While email is often the preferred method, apologizing through professional messaging apps may be acceptable depending on your company's culture. Social media may not be appropriate for professional apologies.

Written by:
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galin office topics square
co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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