Decline invitation with referral letter template


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How do you decline respectfully an invitation to speak at a conference? 

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, Thank you for the invitation to perform at your event. Unfortunately, I am unable to accept it because I have already committed to perform for another organization on the same day. However, my good friend, He is an accomplished speaker, explain the reason for referral, and may be willing to speak instead. You can reach him by telephone or by email. Thank you very much for your consideration and time, Yours sincerely,

If you send a professional but well-drafted 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 Decline invitation to speak at a conference template now for your convenience and sent it directly to the other party.


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