The admins in my office frequently complain about the low RSVP rate to our meeting invites. We need RSVPs for catering and resource scheduling. We include notes in the invite about the importance of head count, yet so many of our lunch meetings are standing room only and a shortage of food or our busy season meals are cancelled due to lack of acceptances.

Are they ignoring us? How hard is it to reply to an invite? What are we, chopped liver?

Sound familiar?

My eyes were unexpectedly opened at a regional meeting yesterday: more than half of the attendees admitted they routinely use the Accept but do not send a Response in Outlook because they didn’t want to clog up the meeting organizer’s inbox with responses. In Outlook 2016, using this option appears to the meeting organizer as no response.

I told the group as much and every jaw in the room dropped. Once jaws were closed, people started conducting Outlook tests because they didn’t believe me. Jaws dropped a second time.

Here are screenshots from my Outlook test. The first two screen shots are from my view as meeting organizer and the third image is from the attendee who chose accept but do not send response to the invite.

  • Image 1 shows the invite where I provided instructions as to how each person should reply to the invite
  • Image 2 is the meeting organizer view that shows Tracking, taken after both people responded (Cora told me when she replied)
  • Cora’s view of the invite, which shows on her calendar as accepted

If you’re in the Why Don’t They RSVP boat, you might consider adding a note in the invite asking people to send a response, whether they accept or decline.

Give it a try with your teams then leave a comment and let me know your test results. I’m also curious to know how other versions of Outlooks and other scheduling systems manage this option.

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