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XPLANE-IFY YOUR NEXT MEETING
By Kathryn Jarrell, VP of Operations
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Late or inattentive attendees, endless recapping and talking
in circles with little or no progress made, a waste of
everyone’s time. It’s enough to make you ask — Should we
abandon meetings altogether?
At XPLANE we believe meetings, when done correctly, can
be a valuable tool. The key is in how you plan and execute
your meetings. Here’s how XPLANE approaches them.
Meetings get a bad rap
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First, do you even need to have a meeting? Stop and ask
yourself, what am I trying to achieve? Can it be achieved
faster or more effectively without calling the meeting?
If you need a meeting, what kind of meeting do you need
to have? This will influence everything from meeting
location to duration. Most meetings fall within the following
Decision Making / Problem Solving
Learning / Sharing
Brainstorming / Co-Creation
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Meetings are generally won or lost before they even start.
It’s essential to think through the details of what, who,
when, where, and how. For a bulletproof meeting plan –
ask yourself these questions:
• What result are you trying to achieve? (This is your
• What decisions will be required?
• What information is needed to support or inform this
• Who should have input? (These are your attendees)
• When is the best time (day/month/year) to have this
• Where should we have this conversation (boss’ office?
a coffee shop? any old meeting room?)
• How much time is required to do this correctly?
• How can you engage the attendees in an effective way?
(framing questions, post up exercise, visual
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• Purpose / Goal (the Framing
Question to answer)
• Options to Consider
• Plus / Delta those
• Next Steps
• Align on end state you are trying to
• Key Milestones to get there
• Requirements / dependencies
• Risks / pitfalls
• Assign owners
• Next steps
• Framing Question to answer
• Independent idea generation
• Post up all ideas
• Sort similarities
• Have each person vote on 2-3
• Next Steps
Those answers will begin to inform an agenda – the key
ingredient to a successful meeting. Here are some
template agendas based on common meeting types:
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Back to the earlier question, how can you engage the attendees in an effective way? Consider creating a MEETING CANVAS. This is a
visual framework based off the meeting agenda which will help anchor and hold the meeting together.
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As the meeting transpires, fill out the canvas with key decisions and notes. This will focus the energy of the attendees and keep them
engaged. It also creates instant documentation of the meeting so meeting notes are already taken care of.
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Without follow through, it’s like the meeting never
happened. Don’t forget to provide the meeting notes or
canvas to attendees with clear actions items and
corresponding deadlines. It’s also a best practice to get
feedback from attendees on how effective the meeting
was so you can continue to tweak and improve for next
Doing all of this for a meeting is a lot of work, we know.
And not every meeting needs this level of effort, but for
the meetings critical to your organization, you’ll get better
results and a better experience.
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