3 types of meetings you shouldn't be doing and how to decline them politely

Adopting a remote and asynchronous work model? It's hard to decide which meetings are necessary and which are not. Today's essay is about which types of meetings you should not be doing.

Meeting Type #1 Status updates

Want to share what's going on with a project? It's not urgent (like life or death urgent)? Try Slack, record a Loom, write a Notion page or a forum post.

Meeting Type #2 FYI's and process documentation

Telling people how process work's is better done with docs, charts, specs in a central place like Notion, Google Drive or your Wiki. Keep the same structure for every document, so people find everything and can consume the content more easily.

Meeting Type #3 Meet about a meeting

I know. It's somewhat meta. But all too often, meetings are held to prepare for another meeting. That's better done asynchronous.

How To Decline Unnecessary Meetings Respectfully

If you keep getting invites for meetings that fall under one of the three types, it's ok to decline it. A few examples on how you could do it:

  • “Thanks for including me! I wonder if we could try to solve this over email instead?”
  • “I’ve been in so many meetings lately, but I’m trying to be more disciplined about my schedule. Could we try to solve this without a meeting, first?”
  • “I’d be happy to give you feedback on that! Before we schedule a meeting, could I review it in Doc?”

(Taken from the wonderful Virtual First Toolkit by Dropbox)

When declining meetings you might find unnecessary, try not to be that arrogant “I am doing remote now” guy. I've fallen into this trap in the past. It will hurt your ambitions to become a remote or even asynchronous first company.