In many roles, making appointments is a fundamental part of the job. Very often the appointment must be organized via email, or in another written form.
Doing this, in English, is relatively simple as long as you are familiar with the common expressions that are used. The other thing to remember is that there are various forms of formality available in the English language, so it is always important to select the language that is most appropriate for the situation.
Here are the various steps, and associated language, required to make an appointment in English. Always think about the suitable formality required in the message. That formality can be generally categorized as follows:
If you are unsure what level of formality to go for, then a neutral approach is always best. Sometimes the neutral language is similar, if not the same, as the formal language, and sometimes even the informal language.
Starting the email
Formal – Dear Mr. / Ms. / Mrs. surname or Dear Sir or Madam
Neutral – Dear first name
Informal – Hi first name
Breaking the ice
Formal – No ice breaker, just straight to business
Neutral – I hope this email finds you well
Informal – How’s life?
Requesting an appointment
Formal – May I ask permission to meet with you in person?
Neutral – Would it be possible for us to meet?
Informal – Could we meet to discuss it?
Suggesting a time
Formal – I would like to propose a meeting at 2pm on March 7th.
Neutral – I’d like to suggest a meeting at 2pm on March 7th.
Informal – How about meeting up at 2pm on March 7th?
Accepting an appointment
Formal – Thank you for the invitation to discuss ____. I gladly accept your proposed meeting time.
Neutral – That time and date is suitable, thank you.
Informal – Sounds great, see you then.
Apologising and rejecting an appointment
Formal – I regret to inform you that I will be unavailable to attend at that time/date.
Neutral – Apologies, but I will be unavailable at that time/date.
Informal – No, can do I’m afraid!
Requesting a change in appointment
Formal – Due to unforeseen circumstances I must request a change of date/time for our appointment.
Neutral – Unfortunately I need to change the date/time of our appointment.
Informal – Something’s come up, is there another date/time that you can do?
Finishing the email
Formal – I look forward to our meeting. Yours sincerely
Neutral – I look forward to seeing you soon. Warm / Kind / Best regards.
Informal – See you soon / cheers
Other things to remember when writing emails
Here are some other important points to remember:
- Emojis are always informal. They can be nice to use in business emails on occasion, but only when you have already established a relationship with that person.
- In English, first names are generally used (and not last names). However, it is always best to follow the lead of the person you are communicating with in this regard.
- Being very direct in English can often seem aggressive and a little impolite. However, if someone is writing in a language that is not their native tongue, then it is always good to consider that your interpretation may not be what was intended.
- It is always possible that some feeling or emotion can be lost in writing. If you feel that the communication has not been received as you would have intended it, then pick up the phone. Sometimes things can be lost in written text.