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What's the best way to follow up for ghosted meetings?

I recently scheduled a meeting with my mentor for a mentorship program I got into. It was supposed to be the first introduction meeting just getting to know each other and they didn't show up. I waited about a half hour incase they were running late but they never came. I sent them an invite and made sure the specific date would work or them and they agreed. Maybe something came up for they forgot since it was scheduled a week in advance, I don't know. They did mention they were pretty busy at their work. I don't want to bother them but also want to know if they are available to meet again/know why they didn't come or let me know they can't make it. How do I follow up in a situation like this? career college student

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Francisco’s Answer

Hi Sam,

Great question! One important thing to remember is that mentorship relationships are meant to be serious professional or personal relationships that need to be taken seriously. Not everyone prioritizes this as much as they should, or are willing to make time for it, but at the same time, sometimes it's difficult to make time for it.

My recommendation would be to send them a follow up email. Express your concern about maybe them being swamped with work or how you hope everything is okay. Then just tell them how you were looking forward to the meeting and that you would like to know if you could reschedule for another time. Be understanding and assume they have the best of intentions to meet. A friendly reminder is a good way to call their attention to the matter and you might learn what happened.

Alternatively if you continue to face these behaviors I'd suggest reaching out to the program coordinator of this mentorship program. The mentors have a responsibility to the program and the students, and I'm sure they would like to know if your mentor isn't meeting the agreed expectations.

I hope everything turns out okay and you are able to talk to your mentor soon. Best of luck!
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Andrey’s Answer

I am sorry that you are in this situation. Please be positive. My advise is to make a short phone call to your mentor, mention about your mentorship program and you would like to schedule a meeting/call. Leave a message if voice mail and say that you will call again. You are not bothering your mentor as if they agree with the mentorship program, they are willing to help.
I really hope that you can be connected with your mentor.
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Susan’s Answer

When a mentor misses any meeting, especially an introductory meeting, it can prove disappointing. It is important to know something may have occurred on a professional or personal level which prevented the mentor from joining and perhaps even alerting you. I would expect over the next day, the mentor would reach to you to apologize and reschedule. If the mentor does not, and repeatedly ghosts you, I recommend you revisit the mentor's commitment. You stated the mentor said he was really busy- aren't you busy, as well? Sam, your time is important.

I am uncertain how this mentor relationship was initiated- by you, the mentor, a program? I ask because if there are repeated ghostings and it is through a program, you may choose to engage the program lead to assign a new mentor who has greater availability and interest.

Make no mistake, if the mentor chose to ghost the meeting, did not follow up or reply to your request to meet again, the mentor's action was an abuse of power. When you state, "I don't want to bother them," I fear they are not truly committed and may even mistake your politeness for non-engagement. Sam, a mentor/mentee relationship is a privilege. It is an opportunity for both people to learn and grow. I wish you well on your quest to secure a meaningful mentoring relationship.

I've noted a few next steps, below designed to help you move forward:

Susan recommends the following next steps:

After 48 hours, if you have not heard from the mentor - send an email advising, "I understand something may have come up which prevented you from joining our introductory session (date/time). I have rescheduled our meting for (date/time) and I look forward to speaking with you then.”
Create a one-pager picture bio you can share with your mentor. NOT a resume, but rather a few highlights that help the person to get to know who you are and what's important to you. So, you may choose to show a picture of you golfing and speak to the fact you enjoy golfing, a picture of you painting in a school club, a picture of you at work, etc… The idea is to have a visual place holder that you can speak-to, during an introductory meeting.
Make sure you have an agenda to structure the meeting and conversation. Thsi should be brief, but gives context to the meeting.
Develop your guiding principles & expectations of your mentor/mentee relationship and get the mentor's buy-in. For example, how often you will meet, how long each session will be, the duration of your relationship and most importantly crystalize your purpose - what you aim to achieve during your sessions.
Sam, always make sure you have a few questions for your mentor on topics that are important for you. They can help the flow of conversation, while being purposeful and deliberate.
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neil’s Answer

Great question...and i feel its always difficult to strike a balance between following up respectfully and appearing eager/frustrated/annoyed. But i would agree with answers above and reiterate that your follow up is important. Be respectful, friendly but also stress that you are still very interested in meeting. Most, if not all, mentors want to help, want to assist & would want to meet...so missing a meeting is seldom, if ever intentional and you reaching out with a polite reminder will often be appreciated by them.
Offer alternative times, forums, platforms to meet, stress your continued interest and await the response. i normally would only send one reminder...but thats a personal choice, some folks would send two or three reminders.
But i would be confident that your mentor does want to meet and the missed meeting would not be intentional.
Good Luck
Neil
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