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A couple of days ago, I had this conversation with a client:

Client: Did you want to have a call?
Me: Yes, I'm available on Monday morning (9-12).
Client: Let's do it at 10.
Me: Ok.

Now, even though we talked about having this meeting, I haven't received a calendar invitation, as it is usual that he schedules the meetings and sends the invitations. Today in the morning, I arranged a meeting with another client for the same time. I only remembered the conversation with the first client just minutes before I joined the (new) call, and since I didn't see the slot in the calendar I just had the call with the second client.

How should I handle this? Is it rude to say 'hey I'm in something else', we didn't schedule anything? Or you can't cancel a meeting that wasn't scheduled?

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    To clarify, you didn't call the first client and instead called the second client? Did you talk to the first client at all before cancelling? – David K May 6 at 14:48
  • I haven't talked to the first one after that conversation. I called to the second one early in the morning. – Ezecad May 6 at 14:53
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    Actually you did schedule this call. Verbally. So your assumptions are not realistic. The client probably relied on that. That means your current situation is how to explain this to client #1 and perhaps apologize. – puck May 6 at 14:56
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    Did the first client call you at the scheduled time? Did he reach out to you and ask why you missed the meeting? – dan.m was user2321368 May 6 at 15:54
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Although you didn't get a calendar invitation, this meeting was scheduled. You had a date and a time, and you both verbally committed to it. The client won't be happy, and with reason : you didn't pencil this appointment in on your end (so you forgot about it), and you didn't try to contact the client to ask if the meeting was still on after not receiving an invite.

So apologize profusely and own this mistake. Explain that there was a mix up and that you were already in another meeting. I wouldn't mention that you didn't get a calendar invite, since in the end you could have done it or at least contacted the client instead of just forgetting about them. Just apologize, say that this never happens and you'll make sure there won't be a second time.

If this should happen again (which I hope it won't), the same goes : say that you are busy in another meeting, apologize profusely about the mix up, and tell them you'll call them as soon as you're able to to either have the meeting or to reschedule it.

Take this as a learning experience to be more proactive : next time, make a note that a meeting has been planned and you're waiting for the client's invite, and if it doesn't come after x number of days send a short e-mail to re-confirm the meeting (this is where you can mention you didn't receive a cal invite like they usually do, hence the check up). Or if it would be acceptable, just send the invite yourself.

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Client: Did you want to have a call? Me: Yes, I'm available on Monday morning (9-12). Client: Let's do it at 10. Me: Ok.

That tells me the client proposed a meeting for Monday at 10. And you accepted. Thus you have a scheduled meeting.

Today in the morning, I arranged a meeting with another client for the same time. I only remembered the conversation with the first client just minutes before I joined the (new) call, and since I didn't see the slot in the calendar I just had the call with the second client.

So your forgot about your prior commitment.

How should I handle this? Is it rude to say 'hey I'm in something else', we didn't schedule anything? Or you can't cancel a meeting that wasn't scheduled?

You should apologize.

Then you should offer to hold a new meeting at the client's convenience. This time, if you say OK to a proposed meeting, make sure you have blocked time off on your personal calendar.

If for some reason the client doesn't send the kind of formal followup meeting calendar that you have come to expect, don't assume it was never agreed to. Instead, take the initiative to call the client and ask if the meeting is still on or not.

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Since you can't cancel the non-existing invite, you'll have to reach out some other way. You could either call the client or send an email saying something along the lines of

I'm sorry about the short notice but I'm afraid I'll have to cancel our meeting. As an alternative time, I'm free tomorrow at 9 or Friday at 2.

You don't even have to mention the reason for cancelling.

What you should not do:

  • not cancel and leave the client hanging
  • blame the client for the missing invite
  • also miss the rescheduled meeting

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