Extracting Yourself from a Meeting
Let’s face it; there are times when meetings are less than productive, despite your best efforts. When this is the case, you need to get out of the meeting as quickly and as professionally as possible so you can get back to other important work. Here are some worthwhile ideas to try:
- When you are invited to a meeting, ask the person in charge, “Which part of the agenda is particularly pertinent to my work and responsibilities?”
- Ask to be first on the agenda and then you can exit right after your portion.
- Ask to be last on the agenda and then you can arrive just before your item.
- Allow only a certain amount of time in your planner for a meeting (vs. open-ended slots such as 1:00 — ??).
- When putting meetings in your planner, tell the convener that you are scheduling one hour (or whatever you have decided to allow).
- Remind or tell the meeting leader and/or recorder when you arrive that you will have to leave at XYZ time and would like to receive the minutes whenever they are ready.
- Set a timer on your phone, watch, tablet, that will signal 5 minutes before you need to leave.
- Schedule an appointment (face-to-face or phone) immediately following a meeting (that you want to keep contained) so that you have a legitimate reason to leave.
- Arrive on time so you’ll be comfortable leaving on time.
- Be honest with the group when a meeting has gone on too long for everyone. Suggest setting a time to meet when everyone is fresh and energized to discuss the issue at hand.
I can only imagine that some of you reading this are thinking… “WOW! I would love to do these things, but it sort of scares me.” By now, you might know my response… Be bold. Take a risk. Be productive. And always be professional.