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Meetings can cut into the workday, reducing your productivity. When you want to skip a meeting, a professional excuse can get you out of a long session without sabotaging your reputation with the company. For maximum effectiveness, spare a lot of details when using excuses to avoid a meeting. By doing so, you'll avoid suspicion.
A deadline is a reasonable, professional excuse to skip a meeting. When you need to finish a project by a certain time, it can often take precedence over less-important tasks. Let meeting attendees know ahead of time that you're working to meet a deadline and that you will attend if you complete the project before the meeting begins. To ensure that your bosses and coworkers don't suspect that you're just making excuses, mention a few specific details that require your attention, like a last-minute request or changes from a vendor. Smooth things over by sending your thoughts or contributions to the meeting topic with the notice that you won't be attending.
Busy professionals with packed schedules often have multiple meetings in one day. To avoid a meeting, simply schedule another meeting during the same time. If possible, choose a client that will require you to be out of the office -- and block off a period of time that ensures that you won't be back at your desk until the meeting you're skipping is over.
Last-Minute Conference Call
Business professionals are familiar with last-minute and long-running conference calls and understand when one comes up or runs over. If you want to skip a meeting, schedule a conference call with a client that's likely to take a while. As the meeting approaches, send an email or instant message to the organizers to let them know that you're stuck in a call. Your boss will appreciate your dedication to customer service.
Expecting a Phone Call
When you want to skip a meeting but don't want to be out of the office, let your team know that you're expecting an important phone call and don't want to interrupt the meeting proceedings. For example, you might forward your supervisor an email from a client requesting that you be available to discuss an emergency situation. Or, simply let your manager know that you're waiting for a call from a vendor regarding an important event. Choose a situation that has obvious importance so you'll meet the least resistance.