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A Guide To Holding A Successful 1:1 Meeting


A Guide To Holding A Successful 1:1 Meeting

Whether your company is remote, hybrid, distributed, or in-person, having one on one meetings with your employees is essential. 1-on-1 meetings are not only important for the employee, but also for the manager. It is essential to know where your team members stand and if they’re having any pain points with projects they are working on. Here you’ll learn why one on one meetings are necessary and what questions to ask during these meetings.

What is a 1:1 Meeting?

A one-on-one, 1:1 meeting or 1 on 1 meeting is a regular check-in between two individuals within an organization. Such a meeting usually takes place between a manager and an employee. It is commonly conducted for specific goals including providing feedback, resolving issues, keeping each other in the loop, and helping employees evolve in their roles.

A 1:1 meeting stands out for its employee-focused form. It is regarded as the most important type of meeting that helps build trust and create a more productive work environment. Such meetings can also take place between an employee and a mentor, between an employee and their manager’s boss, or in other scenarios as well.

It may seem to be a simple type of meeting, but there are many meticulous aspects to it. Explore the key features of a one-on-one meeting and how you should make them successful.


How Often Should You Have One-On-Ones?

It is common to have 1 on 1 meetings with a manager once a week for 30 minutes. Still, the frequency and duration of these meetings can vary based on the employee-manager relationship.

  • If it is a new relationship and it is the first 1 on 1 meeting, it is recommended to add extra time and then make adjustments as needed.
  • Consider how much there is to discuss and allocate the correct time based on the number of projects that are being worked on.
  • Over time, you can sum up the things that need to be discussed and condense your meeting with the manager once trust has been established and you understand the full scope of the project at hand.
  • You should find a time that regularly works for both schedules.
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What Are The Benefits Of 1:1 Meetings?

1:1 meetings help strengthen professional relationships between managers and their teams. They help grow team loyalty, boost productivity, and help generate valuable and personalized feedback. It becomes easier to check in on goals and align with progress and the next set of actions for achieving goals. There are benefits for everyone including employees, managers, and the business.

Benefits For Employees

One-on-one meetings help employees get valuable feedback and guidance required to succeed in their professional careers. These meetings make your manager a partner in your success and both of you become the partner in your organization’s success.

1:1 meetings help you know where you stand based on the feedback you receive from your manager. You will be able to adjust any part of the project that may not be going in the direction that it should be. These meetings also allow you to bring up subjects that are hard to discuss during busy work hours.

One-on-one meetings are great, but it is just as important to have an open line of synchronous communication throughout the workday. Asynchronous communication is not as effective and Zoom is not the answer. Many employees nowadays feel a sense of Zoom fatigue.

A great tool to utilize for one-on-one meetings is a virtual office. A virtual workspace helps remote, hybrid, and distributed teams stay connected for all their meetings in one location, despite where you are geographically located. This allows one on one meetings with managers to be easy and convenient. Employees are also able to contact their managers in real-time when questions arise rather than waiting for the next one on one meeting that may be scheduled far in the future. 


Benefits For Managers

As a manager, 1:1 meetings assist you in guiding your team’s development, addressing issues early on, and enhancing employee retention rates. If you want your team to be at their highest potential, it is important to engage with them regularly and build stronger relationships with each person.

This is where dedicated 1:1 meetings can help. They help create the trust and space required to know what and how your team thinks. This further helps you take the right actions to ensure their satisfaction and enhanced productivity.

According to Gallup, whenever managers offer weekly feedback, as compared to annual feedback, their team members have a much higher degree of motivation. The team is able to perform much better and is more engaged. Gallup also reports that conventional and inconsistent performance reviews and feedback that take place once a year, worsen performance by 30%. 1:1 meetings, on the other hand, were found to improve motivation by 3.2 times and engagement by 2.7 times.

That is why it is crucial to stay connected with your employees through 1-on-1 meetings and throughout the work day in general. Having a virtual workplace where team members can show up is important for company culture and to make employees feel a sense of belonging even while working remotely.

Benefits For The Business

Your business’ success depends on the amount of effort your managers put into connecting and engaging with each team member. A positive 1 on 1 meeting culture within your organization is good for your people and your business's bottom line. In order to build the perfect team culture, check out Remote Team Building: 7 Ways to Build Team Culture.

The Project Oxygen research by Google shows that managers who conduct 1:1 meetings more frequently have higher performance. One-on-one meetings not only lay the connection between the success of managers, employees, and the organization but also help boost engagement. These meetings provide each employee the chance to ask their manager about their company and how their work is making a difference. This makes them feel more invested in the business.

Another great benefit is team members are all on the same page, no matter where they are located on the map. By having an open line of communication your ensuring that your company stays on the same page and shares common goals amongst all teams and individuals. 


How To Have Effective 1:1s For Managers?

Having effective 1:1s for managers is simpler than it seems. Make sure you’re giving your employee time to go over their pain points and anything they are struggling with. Come up with a solution together.

What Managers Should Do Before The 1:1 Meeting

1:1 meetings are a very high-value time for you as a manager. The conversations help build trust and understanding. It is important to follow the right approach before your meeting. You should keep your team members’ needs in mind and prioritize the biggest projects at hand. It is recommended to take the following steps before the meeting:

  • Create A Shared Agenda: A successful 1 on 1 meeting with a manager requires clarity and excellent planning. It involves a collaborative discussion and you should edit and update a shared 1 on 1 meeting template that leads to the meeting.
  • Review Notes From The Last 1:1 Meeting: You should review the challenges, goals, and roadblocks that were discussed during the last meeting. It will not only help keep things moving, but also demonstrate that you listened carefully, and you value their progress.
  • Clarify The Desired Outcome: Before beginning the meeting, you should ask yourself what result you desire. Develop a strategy to provide feedback so that your team members learn it and work toward achieving that outcome.

What Managers Should Do During The 1:1 Meeting

As a manager, it is your goal to have a great 1 on 1 meeting with your team members. However, this requires making those genuinely meaningful and valuable conversations take place. This is important because you are investing time in not only the meeting but your team's progress in their career. Studies show that employees who work for the best managers are 3 times more likely to be high achievers.

So, how do you achieve that? Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

1. Be Personal And Open-Minded

1:1 meetings help build rapport and trust and create a more organic environment for regular coaching. The best managers know that the most valuable answers are generated in response to open-ended questions. Try starting the conversation about your employee’s personal life. You can ask some of the following questions if you feel stuck:

  • What do you like about working in our company?
  • What do you not like here?
  • What would you like to do more?
  • What tasks seem to be draining you?
  • How can we help with your well-being?
  • Try using the one or two-word check-in exercise to get a feel of the meeting room.

2. Listen

It is also important to take the time to listen to your team members and their concerns during your 1:1 meetings. Remember, it is not just you who should be talking. You can create a safe space for your employees by practicing the following:

  • Be honest
  • Admit your weaknesses
  • Keep everyone in the loop and maintain transparency
  • Bring consistency by creating a calendar event
  • Stay open to feedback about your way of managing

3. Identify Roadblocks

As a manager, you are responsible for helping your team members succeed in their work. A successful 1 on 1 meeting should help identify existing or potential challenges to that success. This should further lead to working together to overcome those roadblocks.

4. Deliver Feedback

It is always difficult to take or give constructive feedback. You should learn how to deliver it well so that it is also received well. Follow these tips when presenting feedback to your team members:

Keep the main goal in mind so that you know what you want to see happening in response to the conversation

  • Address issues and challenges directly
  • Don't delay talking about anything
  • Be direct and be specific
  • As a leader, show your team members what next steps they should take
  • Encourage them to build a growth mindset

What Is One Thing Managers Commonly Get Wrong With One-On-One Meetings?

A lack of agenda and a lack of preparation are among the most common things that managers get wrong with their 1 on 1 meetings. No meeting can be productive if there are no topics to be discussed. You should not follow the traditional approach that your team members will brainstorm and create a list of 20 questions or challenges to be discussed during the one-on-one meeting. It is the manager’s job to prepare the agenda and lead the discussion in the right direction. You should ask the right questions and encourage your team members to be open about everything.

What Employees Should Do During The 1:1 Meeting?

As an employee, it is important that you make the most of the opportunities provided by 1:1 meetings. Some of the most important steps you can take in this regard are as follows:

Bring Up The Things You Want To Talk About

Think about what you want to get out of the meeting. What do you expect from it? You should know about the meeting’s goal because it is what will affect the conversation. At the same time, you should bring up the things that you want to discuss during the meeting. You should come prepared for the meeting and discuss what is on the agenda, but also include any pressing tasks or questions on your mind.

Talk About Your Career Goals

Research shows that career growth is the most important perk that employees seek in their job. You should talk about your career goals with your manager. It is important because your success is tied to your manager and your company’s goals.

Think About Your Manager's Point Of View

In a 1-on-1 meeting, it is important to understand that your manager is also a person and has goals, needs, ideas, pressures, and challenges. You should try to get their point of view.

Make An Action Plan That You Both Agree On

A 1-on-1 meeting should end with an action plan that both of you agree upon. It shouldn't just end with having a great conversation that makes you feel great. That feeling will dissipate after a week when you are talking about the same issues and challenges again.


During The Meeting, Consider The 10/10/10 Model

It is recommended to follow the 10/10/10 Model if you want to succeed with your 1:1 meeting. The key components of this approach are as follows:

  • Give 10 minutes to ‘them’ to speak about what’s on their minds
  • Give 10 minutes to speak about what’s on your mind
  • Spend 10 minutes discussing the future

You should discuss and create a specific action plan and make sure there are processes in place for a follow-up.

For Employees: How Do You Prepare For A Meeting With Your Boss?

As an employee, its recommended to ask yourself the following questions to prepare for a 1 on 1 meeting with the manager:

  • What should I be talking about?
  • What is my boss’s agenda for this meeting?
  • How can we get the most out of this time?

It is important that you come to the meeting with an agenda. You should be transparent about the projects you are currently handling and make sure to follow up on the topics from the previous meeting. You should both ask questions and be prepared to get asked questions.

1:1 Meeting Agenda Ultimate Template

Studies show that almost half of managers have 1 on 1 meetings on a weekly basis. Such meetings tend to have shorter agendas because you are syncing more often with your team. It is recommended to use the following 1 on 1 meeting template to prompt discussions:

  • What was your highlight and lowlight from the past week?
  • How are you tracking your goals this past week?
  • Can I assist with removing any roadblocks or overcoming any challenges?
  • How can I do something differently to help you more?
  • How satisfied are you with your work and life balance on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • What are some KPIs you can use for measuring your performance?

So, it is recommended to take the above-mentioned steps and follow the tips given above to organize a successful 1 on 1 meeting. If you need more insights, it is recommended to check out 5 Ways To Run a Successful Virtual Meeting.

Rad Aswani
Rad has over 7 years of experience in Marketing. Currently, she is the fun Digital Marketer at Kumospace. She leads initiatives such as influencer marketing, SEO management, and social media to name a few. Outside of work, Rad enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her family and friends.
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