Example Letter #1
All I can do is offer my sincere apologies for missing our appointment this afternoon. Of all this year's meetings, this was the one I wanted and needed to attend. I had no idea we would be held up in the holiday traffic for so long. I have resisted buying a cellular phone, but today's frustration has convinced me that I must get one. I hope I can still have a chance to present my proposal to you and Mr. Doe. My sincere thanks for your patience and consideration.
Example Letter #2
Please forgive me for missing our Tuesday appointment. I realize that you had to rearrange your schedule only to be frustrated. Ever since we agreed to hold the meeting, I have looked forward to exchanging ideas and deciding on a plan of action. Somehow, I thought the meeting was at 11 a.m. so I spent the time in my office preparing a presentation. From now on, I will check my calendar first thing in the morning. Can we reschedule? I am still very interested in meeting with you. And again, please forgive my temporary absent-mindedness.
Example Letter #3
I apologize for coming late to the division meeting this morning. One of my staff came to my office with a serious personal problem and I had to make a choice. I stayed to talk with him. I realize that I missed an opportunity to give my report. I hope I can still give it in our next meeting. I know it must be frustrating for you to not have my information at the outset. I fully support the division's initiatives and want to do my best to contribute to them.
Example Letter #4
I am sorry I missed our appointment yesterday. I had been looking forward to our meeting today, but when I rechecked my calendar I discovered that the meeting was, in fact, scheduled for yesterday.
I realize how busy you are and that your time is valuable, but I hope this oversight will not prevent us from rescheduling our appointment. Meeting with you means a great deal to me, and I assure you, this will not happen again.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Begin with a straightforward apology.
Indicate that you understand the seriousness of your absence and that you value your relationship with the reader. You may want to explain your lateness, but don't blame anyone.
Acknowledge your reader's frustration, if appropriate, and end with a positive statement.