How to Get Yourself Out of Meetings - Deepstash

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The Niceness Trap

The Niceness Trap

The reason so many of us find ourselves trapped in meetings we don't want to be in comes down to the fact that we don't want to offend anyone. But there's a real cost to being nice. We wind up wasting hours of our life going to meetings we don't need to be at.

This is an especially difficult trap when you're a leader and other people want or even expect, you to attend. By choosing not to go, you risk creating the perception among other attendees that the meeting isn't important.

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Mission-Critical Only

The first step you need to take is to evaluate the meetings you attend and make an objective analysis about the ones you are truly mission-critical to. Do you find yourself going to a regular update meeting? Not mission-critical. What about a meeting where you can just read the minutes to get all the information you need? Not mission-critical. 

If you're dealing with meetings where you are regularly asked to make decisions on the big objectives for the company, then yes, mission-critical.

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Communicate One-On-One

Once you have identified the meetings you want to excuse yourself from, schedule some private conversations with the leaders and organizers of those meetings to communicate with them that you no longer want to attend the meeting--while also explaining why.

The key is to communicate that you still value the need for the meeting and that you trust this leader to continue moving forward. You also need to make it clear that you remain available to attend the meeting in the future on an ad-hoc basis when needed.

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Group Communications

Once you have established your exit plan with the leader of the meeting, your last step is to do something similar with the other attendees.

What you want to avoid is sending the message that this meeting isn't important. You can do that by sending a clear message in your final appearance at the meeting about why you're not attending the meeting going forward, that you truly appreciate all the work that everyone is doing, and that the meeting itself remains important to continue.

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