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How do you correctly use a meat thermometer?

I have two meat thermometers. I bought a second one because I thought the first one was resulting in overcooked meat, however the new one is doing the same! They are both standard metal prong 'analog style' with a needle.

An example - cooking chicken breast. The thermometer says the temperature must reach 77 degrees Celsius. I cooked it for a short time in a griddle pan first and then put the pan in the oven. The temperature hung around 71 degrees and when it didn't seem to be getting any higher and I felt it was overcooking I pulled it out. Sure enough, overcooked!

How can I use a meat thermometer to cook meat correctly?