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Make Your Meetings POP: Setting Your Meeting Up For Success

October 27, 2023 7:00 am

Question: What is a POP model?

When stepping into the realm of collaborative sessions, whether they are with individuals or businesses, the pivotal moment arrives when you, as the leader, lay the foundation for the entire interaction. Imagine starting a journey without a map – it’s bound to be a disorienting experience. That’s where our POP tool comes in. POP, which stands for Purpose, Outcome, and Process, serves as your trusty map to guide you through successful meetings that captivate attention, drive engagement, and yield tangible results. In this guide, we’ll delve into the magic of the POP model and how it can revolutionize your meeting dynamics.

Question: How can I make my meetings POP?

Let’s decode the essence of the POP model. This transformative tool is designed to make your meetings not just interactive, but truly impactful. When wielded thoughtfully, the POP model shifts your meetings from mundane exchanges to purpose-driven, engaging dialogues that foster actionable outcomes.

Here is what the POP agenda looks like: 

  1. Purpose – Setting the Tone and Expectations 

  2. Outcomes – That Excite and Clarify

  3. Process – Giving Structure to Your Meeting

Setting the Tone and Expectations with Purpose 

The meeting purpose, or the “why” of the meeting, needs to get at the heart of the reason you’re convening. A vague or biased purpose won’t excite participants or help them understand why they should dedicate their time and energy to your meeting.

Here’s an example: your organization has been losing ground to competitors over the last few quarters. When polled, previous clients cite ineffective handling of complaints as the number one reason they left you for the competition. You’ve been asked to facilitate a meeting to tackle this situation. Good thing your VP has heard such great things about a new complaint tracking system that can be installed right into the company’s existing CRM!  During your scoping interview, it’s practically all she could talk about, even though major decisions such as this are supposed to be made by the whole team rather than just the boss.

Now you’re sitting down to prepare your meeting POP, starting with defining the purpose…

Biased Meeting Purpose

To talk about the pros and cons of the proposed complaint tracking system and to plan for its implementation.

Can you hear participants asking themselves:What do you need me for? Why bother debating the pros and cons if the boss is just going to swoop in and mandate this tracking system?”

Vague Meeting Purpose

 To discuss the dip in sales and think about appropriate responses.

Likely responses to receiving a meeting agenda with this purpose at the top include: “Great, discussion and thinking – like this is worth my time! We’re hemorrhaging clients and they want to chat?”

Clear, Neutral Purpose

 To sustain our existing customer base by identifying and agreeing to an effective customer complaint process/system. 

Notice how this meeting purpose doesn’t assume the solution that participants will reach, or leave them hanging as to why we’re meeting. The verbs ‘identify’ and ‘agree’ also enable the group a glimpse as to what they will be doing to achieve the purpose. People reading this know why they should invest in your meeting.

Outcomes that Excite and Clarify

Meeting outcomes, or the “what” of the meeting, speak to the tangible and intangible results you hope to attain by the end of the meeting. Tangible results should include the actual things people will leave the meeting with such as an action, a strategy, a document, a prioritized list, etc.. Intangible results include the emotional state or attitude people will leave the meeting with such as a greater willingness to commit, excitement, better buy-in, etc.. 

Sample Meeting Outcomes 

…By the end of this meeting, we will have: 

  • decided on a new customer complaints process
  • completed an action plan to implement our new process
  • reinvigorated our commitment to great customer service!

Outcomes are critical for defining the meeting process as they tell us what the ultimate destination is – how we get there will be defined by our steps in the ‘process’.

The Process – Giving Structure to Your Meeting

The final ‘P’ in POP is process. Process speaks to ‘how’ we are to achieve the outcomes and ultimately the purpose of the meeting. Your process focuses on two aspects of meeting management:

  1. how the meeting is to be structured i.e. the activities and tools used for engaging the group and the respective sub-steps, the questions asked, the timing per activity.
  2. How the people are to be managed i.e. what behavior guidelines or ‘norms’ are required that identify how the group wants to relate with one another i.e. one person speaks at a time; all tech off or on mute, etc.

Unlike the meeting purpose and outcome, I don’t suggest sharing your meeting process notes with participants prior to the meeting. A thorough and well-worded agenda will do the trick. I am, though, a huge proponent of sharing your detailed process notes with your client/meeting sponsor to ensure buy-in before the meeting. If there are no surprises, your client is much less likely to sabotage your process during the meeting. You’re not giving away trade secrets here, just clarifying the tools and steps that will result in achieving the agreed-to meeting outcomes.

Let us know any techniques you use to ensure you set your meetings up for success!


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Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!