Canceling Disappoints People

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
Something that really bothers me is people who cancel on you all of the time. For example, I work in fundraising. I raise money through corporate sponsorships. One of the companies that I have been going after has set up several meetings with me, and then the point person cancels right before the meeting every time. What do you think the etiquette of “canceling” should be?

Dear Anonymous,
There are people out there who have a bad habit of always canceling meetings, as well as social engagements. I have a personal rule that I do not cancel unless it is an extreme circumstance. Canceling because it is raining and you do not want to get out is not a reason to cancel. Canceling because there are life threatening icy conditions is a reason to cancel. Not feeling great is not a reason to cancel. Being very sick and you cannot get out of bed is a reason to cancel. The bottom line is people need to honor their commitments, and even if they do not feel like it, they need to anyway. In the case of business meetings, the point person you are dealing with is not treating you with respect. If possible, find a second person to meet with at that company, and include him in your next scheduled meeting. Or meet with him one on one. I would find a way to cut the person who cancels out of the picture if possible.