How to Politely Get Out of a Meeting

Image Credits:

From the moment you receive an invitation, you can already predict whether the meeting will be unproductive or not. How can you decline politely?

A meeting will take more than an hour of your time, so you can see if the other party would be willing to update you over email or short phone call.

Sometimes, even well-meaning people forget that time is not infinite. A straightforward query or reminder can help. Here are other strategies that you can apply.


Not all meetings are created equal. Just because you have been invited to one does not mean that it is essential. Start by examining which meetings are important to attend and which are not.

The most essential meetings are the ones in which decisions will be made. If your team is choosing to launch a project, you cannot make the decision over email. Meetings that will need brainstorming or sharing of opinions should be done in person or through a teleconference.

You must also attend strategic meetings, which allows you to develop a unified vision of where your organization is headed.


Make it challenging for the other party by asking the following questions upon receiving an invitation:

1. What is the exact topic?
2. What is the meeting’s duration?
3. What is the time and location?
4. Who will be in attendance?
5. What decision needs to be made at the meeting?
6. Why is my attendance crucial there?

Image Credits:


Many organizations have staff meetings for information sharing. These meetings involve listening and learning about the current plans and events affecting the team. You may not have a crucial role in this meeting, but you need to stay informed.

Bring up the idea of having someone keep meeting notes during the session, so people who will not able to attend can have access to the information that was shared. Read the meeting notes instead.


If the meeting no longer pertains to you, politely ask if you can step out. It is alright to request to leave early, especially if you are busy. Message the meeting organizer to explain that you are trying to manage your time and prioritize tasks.

Meetings take up an average of 62 hours per month of employees’ time. Many professionals attempt to cope in a passive-aggressive way by showing up late to meetings or by fiddling with their gadgets.

Image Credits:

The strategies above provide a better way to politely get out of meetings to protect your time.

Sources: 1 & 2

You Might Also Like