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How to use Brainstory for executive leadership meetings

This is for people with 2+ hour long meetings with other executives. Here's how you optimize your time.
By Lilly Chen

If you found your way here from our previous blog, welcome! This blog will go into a more detailed step-by-step guide with examples, specifically for executive leadership meetings. We’re talking about meetings that are:

  • Multiple hours long
  • Multiple key stakeholders (C-suites, investors, VP’s)
  • Per person speaking time is limited

In these meetings, it’s extremely important to prep. Ideally, everyone in the group will prep because then everyone is aligned on what the priorities and contexts are for discussion.

Finding something to talk about

At least a few days before the meeting, you should start thinking about what you want to focus on during this meeting. If this feels too open-ended to start your Brainstory, here’s some questions you can talk through with Brainstory:

  • What am I avoiding or resisting right now?
  • What’s the most important decision I’m facing?
  • What am I least satisfied with right now?
  • What is my biggest risk? My biggest fear?
  • What do I wish I had more time to do?
  • Where are my company’s weaknesses?
  • What relationships am I not feeling good about?
  • What possibility am I not pursuing?
  • What plans am I counting on being successful?
  • Where am I uncertain?

You can always start a question, see how it goes, and decide to start a different one if you don’t like it. Just start talking!

Once you have your topic selected

Once you have a good idea of the topic, start a new Brainstory that you intend to send out externally. You’ll still be able to talk freely, so don’t worry about that.

Give Brainstory context that you’re preparing for an executive leadership meeting and some context on your topic. It’s super helpful if you also have a concrete goal for your meeting.

If you’re unsure about some of those details, here are some questions you should go through with Brainstory:

  • What do you want help in working through?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is it to get feedback from the group at this meeting?
  • How are you feeling about your issue now?
  • What are the consequences if you do nothing? What’s at stake?
  • What’s happening? What’s the background?
  • What have you tried? What were the results?
  • What’s getting in your way?
  • What options/possibilities are you considering? What are you leaning toward?
  • What is your ideal outcome?
  • What commitments did you make at the last meeting? How did they go?

Sending your Brainstory

After you finish your conversation, you’ll have a completed Brainstory! Depending on the type of group, you could either share it with everyone’s emails, or share the link directly in an existing email chain.

Typically, you’ll want to give everyone 3 business days to read your brief. So make sure you’re sending everything in a timely manner! Busy people will appreciate having context on your problem so that meeting time is effective.