BOOST Your Team Meetings

We coach, develop and work alongside leaders and teams to shift ideas on leadership and provide the skills and tools needed to grow teams.

Author: Phil Hartwick
First Published: 2020


Meetings can really suck! At least badly run meetings do – that’s for sure.

Time and again we hear of meetings where groups of people walk away feeling frustrated that their time has been wasted. Discussions seem to go on too long and meander out of control. Often, people complain that they weren’t even sure what the discussion was meant to achieve.

So, we developed a simple tool that we teach teams to adopt during their meetings which seems to have made a big difference. We call it BOOST.

BOOST is an acronym which stands for:

B – Background – What is the background to this topic?

O – Objective – What do we need from this discussion?

O – Output – What tangible things need to be created from this discussion, if any?

S – Steps – What steps will we take to achieve the objective and outputs required for this discussion?

T – Time – What amount of time do we have for this discussion?

Before we explain in detail how you can use this tool, let us explain the benefits:

    • Clarity of the objective of every discussion

    • Better preparation as to what is required by a topic leader before launching a discussion

    • Focused discussions leading to more efficient and effective meetings

So how does this work?

For each agenda item that needs to be discussed at a meeting, the owner of that item needs to prepare ahead by thinking through and proposing answers to BOOST.

These are presented to the group before any new topic is introduced for discussion. Running through BOOST usually takes less than one minute, unless there are questions from the group. The purpose of this is to get the group to be completely clear on:

    • why we are having this discussion,

    • what we need from this discussion, and,

    • how we are going to hold this discussion?

For example, at a team meeting I attended recently, they used ‘BOOST’ to set up a discussion that was to do with an upcoming event that the team was responsible for planning and would be involved in.

On the agenda, the topic was: Business Unit Conference – Sharing our Vision

In essence, the BOOST set-up went like this:


We agreed at our last team session to share our Business Unit vision with all staff members at our upcoming conference. The sub-committee has decided the best way to do this was to have a 2 hour ‘visioning session’ as part of the conference where we get them to contribute to our vision.


What we would like from this discussion is an agreement as to how we should run that session


Ideally, we would like to create today an outline of the session, and who will be leading each part of that session at the conference


First, we would like to take you through what we are thinking, then we would like to get your thoughts and ideas as to how we could improve our approach, and finally agree what we will do with who can help.


We have an hour on the agenda to get through all of that.

This started the team down a clear pathway to knowing what was required for that discussion.

Let’s take another simpler, less formal example to illustrate.

Say you are talking to your partner about where you could go to take some friends (who are visiting) out to dinner this Saturday night. It might sound something like this:


The Jones arrive this Saturday and I thought it would be great to take them out to dinner instead of having to do all the cooking at home.


I’d like to know if you think this is a good idea and if so, decide the best restaurant to take them to.


We could agree a short list of restaurants to check their menus and prices.


Let’s brainstorm the restaurants that we know that we think the Jones might like, then we can have a quick look online at their menus and prices and if they take bookings. Then we can make the booking before they are all booked up.


If you have 15 minutes, we should be able to get this organised before I head to work.

We suggest teams (you can decide if you want to practice on your own partner!) get into the habit of using BOOST to set up any discussion. We know of a few that have been doing it successfully and it has become standard practice.

As is always the case, to develop this into an everyday practice the team needs to be committed to trying it, practicing it to get familiar with how it works, committed to doing it as an ongoing practice and then remembering to do it. Having the BOOST formula on the wall in the meeting room can help the team to remember it and use it.

Try it and give us some feedback.

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