By default, we should only attend meetings where we are active participants, not passive attendees with not much to contribute to the desired outcome of the meeting. There are some exceptions to this like training sessions, educational presentations or others where the purpose for attendees is to learn something.
When I receive a meeting request, I often reply with the following text. In fact, I have it saved as a TextExpander macro as a shortcut to typing it.
May I please request the following information in advance of this meeting? It will enable me to prepare, participate and be productive in the meeting.
- What do you recommend I should prepare in advance of this meeting?
- What decisions do we need to make at this meeting?
- What problems do we need to solve at this meeting?
Thank you in advance,
Time Management Tip: When you receive an invite for a meeting at work where you believe you may not add much value, reply to the invite with a polite message like:
Thank you for inviting me to this meeting. It seems from the subject, agenda, and attendees list that I’m not a required participant for this meeting. If I’m mistaken and my presence is required in this meeting, please accept my apologies and let me know that I should attend.
This is preferable to ignoring the meeting invite or declining without comment that may come across as rude. I also have this text saved as a TextExpander macro.
Discussion about declining meetings: https://plus.google.com/107443707510532643538/posts/inUkYy1Ufg7
Also published on Medium.