An Example of Respectfully Declining a Meeting at Work That is Already in Your Calendar

Here is an example of how to respectfully decline a meeting to make time to work on a higher priority.

We occasionally find ourselves in meetings when our time could be better spent doing something else of greater value. I previously wrote about how to respond to and politely decline meeting invitations. This post is about declining a meeting you have previously accepted and communicating that in advance to all participants because some of them may be expecting you to attend. This sometimes happens with recurring meetings where you need to participate in some but not all instances. Sometimes you previously accepted a meeting, but things have changed since that no longer require your participation.

I recommend that you do daily and weekly reviews of your upcoming meetings and consider which ones you should decline to make better use of your time.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Rajiv Pant <[email protected][redacted]>
Date: [redacted]
Subject: [redacted]
To: [redacted]

Dear Colleagues,

This initiative is important to me. I was part of the kick off and subsequent discussions, and this project is on a good track. I will skip this upcoming meeting because I don’t need to personally contribute in, nor make decisions in this next meeting.

I trust [named colleagues] — who I have preciously discussed with — to represent my interests in this meeting. I will follow up with them afterwards, if necessary.

I will use the time to focus on [another project] that needs my attention.

HOWEVER:
If I am missing something and y’all do need me to personally attend this meeting — let me know and I will participate.

Thank you.

— Rajiv Pant   राजीव पंत   潘睿哲

A 90 second video of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet discussing having less meetings and spending more time thinking and reading.

(Side note:  This is my first blog post published using WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editor.)


Also published on Medium.

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