Women, 9 Ways You Can Ditch Meetings and Look Fabulous Doing it

Source: Campaign Creators via Unsplash.com

There are between 30 million and 55 million meetings every day in Corporate America. And even that range shows a bunch of people weren’t paying attention in a meeting. Who can blame them? It feels as though I have been in every one of them. Every soul-sucking one. I am pretty sure that’s about 25% of my life.

You’re supposed to be creative and using your genius to come up with and execute on new ideas —and you can’t. Why? Because you’re in a meeting. Poof! Now it’s 4 meetings later and half your day is gone. And, as a woman, you are paid less than a man. It’s only right you should attend fewer meetings. And if you are a woman of color, you should attend even fewer than white women. Hey, give yourself a raise and get the hell out of those!

So what does a smart, busy professional woman do? Get stuff done by getting out of unnecessary meeting stuff.

Meetings are just the adult version of a time-out corner — for groups.

So, ladies, here are 9 ways to say yes to stopping that nonsense and reclaim your precious time.

The 15-Min Rule: Hard Stop!

Time is Over! Rachel Crowe via Unsplash.com

Book in 15-minute increments. Or 10. I was given 15-min by a CEO once and then asked to do 7 minutes when I got there (seriously, I got sandbagged. Then I sandbagged his sandbag!) Hell, yeah, it’s possible. I did it and then he let me continue past 7 minutes. A test? I don’t know — he defended his time. So should you. Be a badass time cop and stick to 15 minutes or 7 minutes. These are good options for forcing would be time-wasters to pick one issue and stick to it. Cut people off mid-sentence if you have to. Hang-up the phone or walk out. They were warned. A male CEO did it. So should you. For extra flair, look at your watch the whole time.

‘Mail Over Meetings’

Cancel any meeting that could be done in an email. Hand out trophies to people who turn ‘meetings into mail!” For the love of sweet Jesus, make it a religion if you must and stick to it. (note: I am *not* kidding about these first two sentences. Not sure about the third. No judgment. Do what you gotta do).

And if you do an email: use one subject per email. Seriously.

Say No

No is a complete sentence. (yep, pretty serious here, too). A “No” is just a yes with higher self-esteem. And if you feel a ‘yes’ about to come out of your mouth, punch yourself in the face. In front of people. They’ll think you’re not well and won’t want to meet with you.

NO! Isaiah Rustad via Unsplash.com

Send in the Meeting Lovers

If you don’t need to be there, send in someone you dislike with vague flattery, “Hey, you go ahead. You got this covered. Really. You’re the expert.” Boom!

Pull a “Man Meeting Move”

When the point has been made, be the first to call it: “We’re done here, right?” Get up and walk out. (Note: I found out later from guy friends that this applies to dates too when it’s clear the date isn’t going anywhere. Who knew?! All those dates I could have just gotten up and walked out on! Dayum.)

Walk Out Like a Bro. Image: Unsplash.com

Video It! Where are the Pants?

If you must do one, do your exploratory call (15 minutes hard stop!) by video so you can see what you’re dealing with. Pants-optional. Make sure *your* camera is not aimed at your pants. Or do it. Maybe they’ll never bother you again.

Where are my pants? Who cares! Image: gratisography.com

Audio-Only: ‘Ride or Die’ Mute-Button Time

If people can’t get to the point, say ‘I’ll be quiet because I’m listening.” Then mute. Go do something productive and come back in 10 minutes. Don’t wear pants on this one. The more uncomfortable you are sitting on an itchy chair, the more likely you are to end meetings quickly.

“Running Meetings”

You have heard of a ‘walking meeting’ (taking a meeting while walking); well, meet its hyper-speed-driven, sexier cousin. Make people run with you at your best pace for 15-minutes to have a meeting. Carry a weapon or a fake body part. People will rethink talking to you. Other possible upside: you’ll outrun people, they’ll lose focus — or, even better, cancel. Maybe they’ll outrun you. All good. You’re a meeting winner by losing.

Now Where Did I Bury the Body? Source: gratisography.com

The Buddy System

Bring a buddy or ‘meeting bodyguard’ with you. Let him or her be the heavy. If the meeting is getting boring, your buddy can hit a buzzer. When it’s down to the last few minutes, he or she can hold up countdown numbers for you and your other meeting participants. At time, he or she can tackle people or pull you to non-meeting safety.

How do you slay the meeting monster at work? Your time is worth protecting. Let me know how you do it!

(Some of these ideas are only slightly satirical. I aspire to fewer meetings and I’m making that happen this year!)

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I am a speaker, author, comic, and nerd MA, MBA. Founder of Keeping it Human, I help brands, leaders and teams use strategy, play and improv to unleash creativity, innovation and storytelling so employees and customers thrive. Sometimes I write funny about serious topics and seriously about funny topics. Yes and…improv can help shape confidence, spontaneity, collaboration, and creativity to be fully you at work. Interested? Let me know. My fave audience is my son, who laughs himself silly daily. I am at “@kathyklotzguest” on Twitter and @klotzguest on Instagram. My book, “Stop Boring Me!,” is on Amazon.

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Author, speaker, comedian. I turn teams into thriving idea-driven startups who lead in the moment with humor and improvisation. CEO, Keepingithuman.com. MA, MBA

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Kathy Klotz-Guest

Kathy Klotz-Guest

Author, speaker, comedian. I turn teams into thriving idea-driven startups who lead in the moment with humor and improvisation. CEO, Keepingithuman.com. MA, MBA

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