You're guessing that it's fear of meetings and not wanting meetings, but it might
not be! For example, it could be that the people enjoy meetings and especially
enjoy them when they're able to show off what great stuff they've done about
the thing the meeting is about.
Here's a strategy you might consider: when a situation like this comes up,
don't start with email. Start by calling a meeting almost immediately:
announce that there'll be a brief 15-minute preliminary meeting in half
an hour, or just start a conference phone call and unexpectedly call people
up, keeping an informal tone ("we just wanted to include you in this call"),
or start talking to a couple of people about it at coffee break, or walk into
somebody's office and say you're about to go and look for a third person
to see if they can solve this and ask them if they'll come with you, or
announce a short meeting for this afternoon, etc. Try to make it clear
that people aren't expected to solve anything before this first meeting;
and also schedule a second meeting for a day or two later, (calling that
"the meeting", like a real normal meeting; this first one is just
preliminary) hoping that people will solve things either during the first
meeting or in the interval between the two.
The second meeting can
be cancelled if the thing gets solved ... or maybe it's better to hold the
second meeting anyway and just use it to let people show off and congratulate
people on what they did and ask what we can learn about this for
adjusting procedures and for preventing and solving problems in future.
Cancelling the second meeting could be a mistake -- then future meetings
could be less effective. Depending on exactly how people actually
feel about meetings.
I enjoy meetings (sometimes) and tend to get more stuff done on
the project the meeting is about, shortly before the meeting
and sometimes also shortly afterwards.
Are you sure it would be faster to do it at a meeting? Remember, the
meeting takes up everybody's time at once. It might take less
elapsed time but more of each person's individual time.