How to get out of pointless meetings

23rd October 2018

Pointless meetings are awful. You haven’t the time or energy to waste in them.

So here’s a simple way to get out of them…

When you receive your invite, contact the Owner, and ask these two questions:

  1. To help me prepare, please tell me your desired outcome
  2. (In response to their answer) And how can I best contribute to this outcome?

The first answer tells you what agreements/actions they want the meeting to cause. The second explains whether you can/can’t contribute to them.

If she sees that you can’t contribute, say something like “I’m glad I checked. It sounds like I can’t contribute. So I’ll decline the invite. But I do want to hear what you agree. Please could you send me the Actions Arising afterwards?”

Phrasing it like this means you aren’t asking permission to decline. Instead, you’re asking about the Actions Arising.

You see, when you’re invited to a meeting, you have options. An invite isn’t a court summons. You don’t have to go. But you do have to be respectful if you’re declining. And this is a great way to do that.

Action Point

For this week’s meetings, for any you think might be pointless, try my two questions, to see if you can get out of going.

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