Nearly three out of four professionals say they waste time every week due to unnecessary meetings, according to Atlassian, and 45 percent say they feel overwhelmed by the amount of meetings they attend. Some meetings are valuable and necessary. They unite teams, whether in person or remotely, for brainstorming, goal-setting and discussion.

However, not all meetings are worth pulling away from your work. If you feel like you get called into meetings that may not make sense for you to attend, it helps to know how to respectfully decline them. Ted Kitterman, an editor of PR Daily for Ragan Communications, has compiled a list of nine ways to politely decline the meeting invites that roll into your inbox. We share his suggestions in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Question the meeting’s objective. If the meeting has a fuzzy objective or doesn’t have one at all, let the organizer know you won’t be a value-add, Kitterman says. There’s no sense sitting in a meeting that doesn’t have a clear purpose.

2. Be direct. You can also help take back your time by asking the meeting organizer why you are included. This isn’t necessarily a rude question, Kitterman says, but rather a way for you to learn how you can contribute.

3. Find out which colleagues are attending. If the meeting contains mostly people from other departments, there’s a strong chance your presence may not be needed.

4. Suggest a replacement. However, if someone from your department needs to be in a meeting, offer up someone to go in your place. This can help a less-experienced employee gain more visibility while freeing up your schedule, Kitterman says.

5. Assure the organizer you’ll follow up. You may not need to attend this particular meeting, but that doesn’t mean you’re not available to help with a project or request.

6. Address the agenda in an email. Kitterman says you can often circumvent the meeting entirely by quickly addressing the issues for discussion in an email or Slack message.

7. Hop on a quick call. If you don’t want to come across as rude in an email, jump on a call with the meeting organizer.

8. Block off time on your calendar. This strategy works with the caveat that you will review the meeting summary and offer input as needed.

9. Start a conversation about your company’s meeting culture. If you feel like you are swamped with meetings, it may be a good time to talk with your boss about how you can create a healthier meeting and scheduling culture. Maybe that looks like scaling back on the overall number of meetings or being more selective in who attends these meetings.

All-hands, town halls, check-ins, regroups and other meetings can quickly overwhelm your work week. You can take back control. Consider the tips above to avoid wasting time in meetings.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Ted Kitterman is an editor of PR Daily for Ragan Communications.

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