Dear Meeting Guru,

Often, I find myself in meetings that I really don't need to be in. What is the most graceful way excusing myself from a meeting already in progress?


Blessed Meeter,

If it's obvious that your presence is not required, wait for a gap in the conversation and politely excuse yourself. A simple "Excuse me, I don't think you need me for this discussion, so I'm just going to head back to work" should suffice. Believe it or not, there are meeting groupies who attend every meeting on the calendar just for a change of scenery. Asserting your desire to get back to work will likely be viewed as real dedication to the job.

If you find yourself stuck in a meeting with the CEO, you may not want to excuse yourself, even if the meeting is wasting your time. In this situation, the best thing to do is pull out a notebook and start doing some work. Make sure you glance up from time to time so it looks like you're taking notes. This strategy not only helps your productivity, but will also earn you points for being a diligent meeting attendee!

Most of us attend far too many meetings as it is. If you can politely excuse yourself from a meeting that you don't need to be in, do it. As the wise philosopher Confucius once said, "To throw oneself into strange teachings is quite dangerous."

In other words, don't waste your time and energy attending meetings that aren't relevant to you. You'll only end up being distracted from your real work.

Until next time… may good meeting karma always be with you.



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