The Receipt Hack for Focused Meetings

Brian Strully
Jan 23 · 2 min read

Whenever I have a meeting, I want to make sure that it is a good use of everyone’s time. Otherwise, why have the meeting?

A simple hack I often use to ensure successful meetings is to take a receipt out of my pocket, or a sticky note and summarize the flow of the meeting. Do this only 10 minutes before the meeting, otherwise you will forget it all. Jot down 2–3 bullets, and that’s it. These bullets should have:

  • A bullet on opening and setting context
  • A bullet on what you are offering them from the meeting, or the valuable time they are investing in you
  • A closing bullet on what result or next step you want

That’s it. By simply writing this down you are setting the groundwork for a good meeting and engaging yourself before the meeting starts.

Here is an example of one of my receipt bullet list when I talk to a prospective customer:

  • Establish rapport
  • Understand their immediate needs
  • Determine whether my company can help

In a 1:1 with an employee I often fall back on a tried and effective bullet list:

  • What is top of mind for them
  • Understand any struggles with current work
  • Get them to think through and commit to the next step

Done, simple, effective.

Originally published at on January 23, 2019.

Brian Strully

Written by . Former Director @ Microsoft and Head of Product @ AWS. Currently advise firms on growth. Dad + runner + telemarker [skiing].