Decline an Invitation to Speak or Perform • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Express appreciation for the invitation, mentioning specifically what you were invited to do in a specific event on a specific day.
2Express regret that you are unable to accept the invitation, briefly mentioning the reason without elaboration.
3If appropriate, suggest a qualified replacement.
4Express wishes for the event's success.


This letter must carry a tone of appreciation while expressing regret.

Example Letter #1


My sincere thanks for the thoughtful invitation to speak at your banquet next month. I am sorry that my travel plans will take me away during that week, so I won't 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 China. I think you would find his insights very interesting. In any case, I wish you a very successful evening. Thank you for thinking of me.

Example Letter #2


Thank you for the invitation to perform at your university's April 18 commencement exercises. Unfortunately, I am unable to accept because I have already committed to perform for another organization on the same day. However, my good friend, John Doe, is an accomplished classical pianist and may be willing to play. You can reach him by telephone at 555-5555 or by mail at the following address:

John Doe

648 Maple Lane

Centerville, Kansas 12346

Please accept my best wishes for the future of your school and its graduates.

Example Letter #3


It is an honor to be asked to sing at your grandfather's funeral on Saturday. He was a wonderful man. I regret not being able to express my appreciation for him through music, but I have another commitment in Springfield on that day. Please know that I would love to sing if I could. Please accept my regrets.