By Ty Collins
The meeting invitation email is one of the most important items on your event prep to-do list. It gets your meeting onto people’s agendas and keeps it there, even with other demands on their time.
This article will help you to craft a successful meeting invitation. Whether the meeting is formal or informal, large or small, here's what you need to know.
First things first. Before you start writing the message itself, check on what the recipient will see under Sender.
If at all possible, make sure the email comes from you or another person, rather than your company or team. More than 45% of email recipients decide whether to read a message based on who sent it, and Pinpointe marketing research shows that a personal name gets more opens than a company name—15% to 35% or more, to be specific.
Once you’ve set up the sender account, you can get down to business.
According to SuperOffice, almost 34% of recipients open an email based on the subject line. Yours should be clear and concise, including only what’s necessary to introduce the meeting. For example:
“Important development team meeting”
“Project kickoff on Friday at noon”
“Meeting to welcome the new VP”
Email open rates on mobile devices are going up, and mobile screens have room for only a limited number of characters. Aim for a subject line of no more than 41 characters or seven words. That’s shorter than average, so your email will stand out in people’s inboxes.
Even if the details of the meeting are included behind an invitation link, list them in the body of an email. Answer the following three questions:
1. When is the meeting? Give the date and time. Make sure you choose a time that’s likely to be convenient. Avoid scheduling the meeting for the very beginning or end of the day, especially if the meeting is likely to run long.
2. How long will it run? People have packed schedules, and back-to-back meetings are common, especially when those meetings are online and don’t require travel time. Be clear about when the meeting will end. If you have to estimate, err on the side of a later end time. Most people would rather get out early than be kept late.
3. Where will it take place? If the meeting is online, tell people how they can get the link. If it’s in person, give an address, unless all invitees know the meeting location.
Start the body of your email by getting buy-in. Even if it’s a required meeting, people will come in with a better mindset if they know what you’ll be discussing. A sentence or two is usually enough, even for an in-depth meeting. Shorter meetings call for an even briefer explanation. Here are a couple of examples:
“Please join us on Friday, January 6, from 4 p.m.–5 p.m. to discuss the next phase of the Hansen project.”
“This will be our year-end meeting, so we'll discuss our annual growth and plans for the next fiscal year.”
Whenever possible, expand on your purpose message with a few points of the meeting’s agenda. You don’t have to go into great depth, but do mention some of the topics you plan to discuss. You can structure this section as bullets, or if you’re listing only a few items, write it out in sentence form. For example:
“We’ll be discussing bonus structures for next year, recognizing goal achievers for this quarter and going over the needs of our top clients.”
For more formal or in-depth meetings, you might also want to add an agenda attachment. These are helpful when attendees need to use the agenda to prepare or if they need to have the agenda as a reference during the meeting.
One reason why you send a meeting invitation email in the first place is to get an attendee count. Most people won’t RSVP without prompting, so make sure you request it. Include a response deadline, even if you don’t have a firm must-know date in mind. This helps you avoid getting all your replies at the last minute.
Be clear about how you want people to reply. Include an email address or, better yet, offer a Calendly link that people can click to add themselves to the meeting.
These are the finishing touches. You’ve invited people to the meeting, told them when and where it will happen and touched on what you’re going to discuss. End strong and with a professional email signature.
Unless you’re communicating only with your team or one person on it, include your full name, position and company. Add a company logo after your signature whenever you can. If you have any links, try to have them go to branded pages.
It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. As you create your meeting invitation, incorporate these styling tips to get the best response possible.
An invitation to a monthly team meeting should read differently than an invitation to an annual general meeting for shareholders. Think about who your recipients will be and how formal the meeting is, then phrase the invitation accordingly. Use the examples below as guides.
Whenever possible, add the recipient’s name to the greeting for a personal touch and remember, this isn't a reminder email. You might also decide to add a friendly opener, especially if you’re communicating with team members, clients, or other people you know. For example:
“Thank you all for your great work on this project.”
“We hope you’ve had a wonderful year, and we thank you for making us a part of it.”
People appreciate not having to spend too much time on email. Cover the basics as described above, then sign off.
Now that you have the basic structure and style of a meeting invitation email, you’re ready to see how it looks in its final form. You’ll find a formal and an informal version below, both of which you can adapt to suit your needs.
This invitation to an annual general meeting tells shareholders what they need to know to prepare for and join a digital meeting.
From: Connor Murphy
Subject: Happy Home Insurance upcoming AGM
As the time for Happy Home Insurance’s annual general meeting approaches, we’d like to thank you for your ongoing support. We hope you will attend this year’s meeting, which we have scheduled to take place on March 3, 2021, at 11 a.m. on Zoom. You’ll find the link here.
We’ve attached a meeting agenda to this email so you know what to expect. As you’ll see, the meeting will cover the following key topics:
Elections to fill this year’s board openings
Votes on shareholder proposals
Annual financial reports
We expect that the meeting will last between two and 2.5 hours. Please let us know if you can attend by clicking this link. We ask you to reply by February 15, as we need a quorum to hold the meeting as scheduled.
Thank you for your time, and we hope to see you on March 3.
Business Development Manager
This more casual meeting invite is geared more toward small teams or one-on-ones.
From: Alana Beck
Subject: Project kick-off meeting, Friday 1/29
I’m happy to welcome you all to our department’s social media outreach project. We’ve got a great team set up, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish together.
Please join me on Friday, January 29, for a kick-off meeting at 10 a.m. We’ll meet in the third-floor conference room for about two hours. Water and light refreshments will be provided.
Come prepared with any questions you might have about the project. We’ll discuss overall strategy, goals and timelines, and everyone will receive their initial assignments.
So that we have an accurate headcount, please click on this Calendly link and accept your invitation to the meeting. I scheduled the meeting based on everyone’s availability in Calendly, but if anything has changed, let me know by Wednesday at the latest.
Can’t wait to get this project off the ground!
Thank you all,
If you’re not sure how to adapt the above examples to suit your purposes, don’t worry. Fill in one of these two templates—formal or informal—with the details of your meeting, and you’re good to go.
If you’re planning a more formal business meeting, especially one that involves invitees whom you don’t know well, this template will help.
Hello <invitee group>,
I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to invite you to a meeting on <day and date> at <time> to discuss <topic>.
The meeting will take place at/on <location/videoconference platform> and will last approximately <number> hours. An agenda for the meeting is attached. The most important topics for discussion include:
<agenda item 1>
<agenda item 2>
<agenda item 3>
Please click this link to confirm whether or not you will be able to attend. We ask that you reply no later than <date and time> so we can plan effectively.
<Your role and contact info>
For less formal meetings and more familiar attendees, you can use this template:
I hope you’re doing well. It’s time for us to meet to discuss <topic>. I looked at everyone’s availability on Calendly, and it looks like <date> at <time> will work best for everyone. Let’s meet at/on <location/platform>. We should need about <length of meeting>. In that time, we should be able to cover:
Please click this link to let me know whether you’ll be able to make it. If you can’t, let me know what other time might work. I look forward to seeing you all.
The vast majority of invitations go out electronically these days, and it’s usually safe to assume that will work for your group. You have two options for setting it up.
This works for most invites. You can write the message using your business email server, or if you’d rather do some more advanced formatting, you can use an email marketing service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. This makes it easy for people to go back and find any related links or agenda attachments.
Of course, if you use Calendly for scheduling, the meeting will automatically copy to attendees' linked calendars, in which case they won't have to go back and look for an email at all.
For an extra-formal touch, create a PDF invitation on company letterhead and attach it to an email. This is a popular option when you have to invite a large audience, such as a group of shareholders, or when you have some invitees who need a hard copy of the invitation.
Be sure to introduce your invitation with a brief email body paragraph. That way you can include any links you need people to click on. Calendly gives you an advantage here too. Because it automatically generates Zoom videoconference details for your meeting, you'll only need to ask recipients to click once. Plus, if your invitees connect their calendars to Calendly, those details will automatically copy over as event details.
No matter how you send your meeting invitation email or how you phrase the different sections, your goal is the same: to encourage people to RSVP “yes.” With these best practices and Calendly as a tool that makes it easy for people to reply, you're set up for success. A well-crafted invitation means a successful meeting, and from there, the sky's the limit.
With Calendly and the right meeting invitation email, you’re ready for a hugely successful event.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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