Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Sometimes people offer you business opportunities that you have to turn down.

Do you have trouble saying no to business invitations?

Today find out how to do it in English without ruining the business connection between you and the other person.

“Hello Lindsay and Michelle thanks for this great podcast!

It has really improved my English.

I wonder now what is an appropriate way to say “no” to invitations?” – Rui, AEE Listener


You need to be careful about the way in which you decline a business opportunity.

If you say the wrong thing the person might not come back and invite you again.


Common invitations in the business world:

  • To be invited for a guest media appearance
  • Lunch meeting or business lunch with someone in an industry or company that you are interested in
  • An invitation to take an exercise class with a colleague during the workday (you might discuss business while exercising)


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Things to keep in mind when you decline an invitation:

  • #1: Acknowledge that you appreciate that they thought of you
    • “Wow, thank you so much for the opportunity.”
    • “I really appreciate the opportunity.” (The word “opportunity” is not appropriate for a lunch invitation)
    • “I really appreciate your asking me.”
    • “I’m honored that you thought of me for this.” (this is great for a more professional opportunity, not a business lunch)
  • #2: You don’t have to give a reason, you can simply decline
    • “Unfortunately I have to decline”
    • “Unfortunately I won’t be able to participate this time.”
    • “I wish I could join you but I can’t” (this would be great for the lunch invitation)
  • #3: Keep the connection healthy and hint that you’d like to be invited another time
    • “I hope you’ll let me know if something like this comes up again.”
    • “I hope to be able to accept the invitation another time.”
    • “Let’s keep in touch.”


Listen to the episode to hear some examples about how we use these phrases in a real role play between Lindsay and Michelle.

Let us know your questions in the comments below.

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