Quick office tip – avoiding meetings

office meeting

So maybe you are overloaded at work. Or its meeting you’ve been dreading. Or you just don’t want to attend that meeting with that person right now.  So how to avoid, delay or get out of it?

Here’s a sneaky tip I am seeing people use more and more nowadays to get out of attending meetings.

How to get out of meetings:

Step 1: Most of you will use outlook at work. You will see the meeting request in your inbox. Don’t open it. Don’t accept it and don’t decline it. Don’t do anything with it. Wait.

Step 2: The request will gradually slip down in your inbox as more emails come in. By default, the meeting may appear as tentative in your calendar. Don’t attend the meeting. You can even mark off your time  in your calendar as showing that you are now in another meeting.

Step 3: The person hosting the meeting will likely only realize you didn’t accept when the meeting has started. At that point they may start to email you, or reach out by IM or call you. Ignore them till after the meeting is over – maybe give it an hour or two or next day. You are a busy person after all!

Step 4:  You can’t ignore them forever so now is time for excuses– when they do manage to reach you. Here’s a few tried and true choices

  • ” Sorry I didn’t see the meeting request.. when did you send it?”  Then proceed to spend five minutes looking for the request in your inbox.  At some point the person may get frustrated and simply reschedule the meeting – no more questions asked. However if they are patient you can pretend to find it after a few minutes and then say  “my inbox is so full of emails I must have missed it” or ” I was really busy must have missed it” (bonus: this makes you sound really busy).
  •  “I saw that request come in and I thought I had accepted it sorry”
  • ” I remember accepting the meeting request…. but its not showing in my calendar”

Note you probably shouldn’t do this with your boss or senior management, and not with the same person twice in a short timespan but it’s definitely worth pulling out of your bag of tricks sometimes!