So I get this conference invitation, but can’t attend, and reply to the organisers, copying to our head of office in the region, and suggesting they invite him instead.
Our head of office replies to me, saying “We have always attended these conferences in the past. From the knowledge point of view they are useless, but from the point of view of schmoozing and showing the flag, they are indispensible.”
Unfortunately he hit “reply all” which meant his email also went to the conference organisers. They’ve now sent a reply to him, copied to me, saying “Thank you for your interest in our conference. You are most welcome to attend (for both schmoozing and showing the flag…) I am also including a copy of the draft programme, hoping that (in case of participation) you will perhaps change your mind about the usefulness of our conferences.”
Rather graceful, under the circumstances. Of course now he will have to attend!