How to decline respectfully an invitation to be a guest speaker?
Rejection letters are not easy to send. Bad news you best bring first and directly. Make sure to do it politely and choose to explain a good reason. In case you are asked to be a speaker, it's best if you could also introduce somebody else that you trust that can do the job as well, or is also a specialist on the same topic. A referral is a win-win situation since you are helping out two other parties. Consider the following when writing a decline letter:
- Show respect and gratitude for the invitation;
- Mention specifically what you were invited to do;
- Mention the specific event on the specific date;
- Express regret that you are unable to accept the invitation, briefly mentioning the reason without elaboration;
- If appropriate, suggest a qualified replacement;
- Your rejection letter must carry a tone of appreciation while expressing regret;
- State your decision politely and assertively;
- Provide the right reasons for it. If you are rejecting a job application, for instance, give a genuine reason for it and encourage the recipient to apply for other positions;
- Express wishes for the event's success;
- Provide a referral to somebody in your network that could do the speech instead.
Suggested letter to politely decline an event and introducing a referral:
Dear Sir or Madam,
My sincere thanks for the thoughtful invitation to speak at your event next month. I am sorry that my travel plans will take me away during that week, so I will not be able to be part of the program; otherwise, I would be pleased to accept your invitation. If you do not have another person in mind, you might consider inviting John Doe, who recently returned from an assignment in the USA. I think you would find his insights interesting. In any case, I wish you a remarkably successful evening. Feel free to contact me if you have any future events. Thank you very much for your consideration and time. Yours sincerely,
If you send a professional decent rejection letter to them, this will soften the blow and encourage them to keep trying, and also make them aware you are worth to contact again in the future for other events. Check out this Rejection invitation to be a speaker at a conference letter now for your convenience and sent it directly to the organizer.