Can You Skip Meetings Responsibly?

Work meetings are undoubtedly necessary. Sometimes, however, they feel entirely extraneous. Skipping meetings can be an effective way to accomplish your more important tasks for the day – but only if you do so responsibly. To help you discern when skipping a meeting is the responsible move, here are a few tips.

Make Sure You Politely Decline

Ghosting meetings is never a good idea. Instead, when you can’t attend a meeting, make sure you politely decline and explain the reason for your absence. You should never simply not show up or reject a meeting invite without explanation. Common courtesy is to reply to the meeting host directly and explain why you won’t or can’t be there.

Discuss Alternative Options

Meetings can be counterproductive for a number of reasons, but they are especially so when there is a lack of agenda or people arrive unprepared. If you sense these issues prior to a meeting, suggest postponing it for an alternative date and time.

Don’t Skip Without Experience to Back You Up

When you are getting familiar with a new role, company, boss, or team, you should be in attendance at all meetings, without fail. A good rule of thumb is you attend all meetings for at least six months after a change in organization, role, or company structure. After this preliminary period, you can revisit whether meetings are relevant.

Always Handle Your End of the Bargain

Just because you are skipping a meeting doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for certain agenda items. When you politely decline the invite, you should also mention that you would like to be updated if anything requires your attention afterward. It’s wise to designate someone who can appropriately update you on what took place and what’s needed from you as a result of the meeting.

If You’re on the Agenda, You’re in Attendance

Just as there are good reasons to skip meetings, there are also reasons not to, such as needing to update your team on your progress, discuss a new initiative, or hear other employees’ progress and pain points to better assist them. If your attendance is necessary, you shouldn’t be skipping the meeting.

Do you have any tips for ways to skip meetings responsibly? Share them with us in the comments below!

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