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Make The Most Of Your One-on-One Meetings

Make The Most Of Your One-on-One Meetings

Do you find one-on-one meetings a bit daunting? Do you always come away with a vague feeling of unease about having not made the most of the time together?

Organizations today are increasingly utilizing one-on-one meetings, both remotely and in person, to foster more meaningful connections and collaborations between employees. But many people don't know how to maximize these crucial interactions and make the most of their time on the clock.

Knowing how to attend a one-on-one meeting confidently is an underused job skill. Often, one-on-one sessions are between managers and their direct reports or peer-to-peer with employees. The primary purpose of these meetings is to build trust and identify any issues or concerns about work-related things. 

Depending on the specific roles in the organization, managers should conduct one-on-one meetings regularly. However, they should generally occur at least once a week or for months. 

If you want to make the best use of your one-on-one meetings, then this article is for you. Here, we will discuss several tips for leveraging technology, active listening, and other practical ideas to help ensure you get the maximum benefit from each meeting.

One-on-one meetings: what are they?

A one-on-one meeting (pronounced 1:1 or one-to-one meeting) is a regular check-in between two people in an organisation – typically a manager and any employee. It’s used to give feedback, keep each other in the loop, resolve issues, and help the participants grow in their roles.

The free-form, employee-aimed nature that goes beyond status updates is what makes the one-on-one special. It’s often considered the most important meeting because it lays the foundation for a trusting and productive organisation.

One-on-one meetings can also be held between employees and their mentors, their boss’s boss or anyone in the organisation. 

One-on-one meetings are key to successful ongoing feedback way. They give managers and their direct reports uninterrupted time to discuss projects, review performance, remove errors, and more. It also allows managers to get to know their employees on a more personal level. These weekly or monthly meetings let managers and their employees discuss career aspirations, interests, and professional growth opportunities, an important way to engage employees and invest in their long-term working period in the organisation.

The importance of one-on-one meetings

1. They strengthen relationships between teams

The one-on-one meeting helps you to make sure you and your team are aligned. Regular check-ins on issues allow you immediate and regular feedback and promote open communication channels. 

2. They improve productivity

Weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings boost productivity and cut wasted time. 

3. It's beneficial to everyone in the organisation

It gives you the opportunity to discuss needs, goals, and expectations, but you’ll also give the organisation advantage of weekly updates attention. Within this time, your employees have the chance to relay their progress and receive a clear vision for upcoming priorities.

The benefits of one-on-one meetings

will be different according to the company, every manager, and every direct report. But while each approach will be different, the goal of these meetings should all be the same—to maintain open communication 

1) Improve performance: 

Weekly or monthly performance reviews are often checked in a one-on-one meeting. This allows managers to stay on top of employee productivity and ensure the team will meet its goals.

2) Drive development: 

89% of millennials value growth and professional development in a job and the perfect time to discuss personal and professional growth as well. 

3) Build trust: 

One-on-one meetings give employees an opportunity to get personal. Direct reports and managers can get to know one another and build lasting relationships. 

4) Increase team acknowledgement: 

One-on-one meetings give employees an opportunity to identify and address blockers, challenges, and matters with their managers as they arise. They also give teams an opportunity to check if goals or objectives become outdated

Disadvantages of one-on-one meetings

1) Skipping meetings: 

One-on-one meetings are very important to keeping managers and direct reports on the same page but if any person skips meetings, it implies they don’t appreciate the other person’s time and could hurt the manager and that employee's relationship. 

2) Rushing through feedback: 

Even in short meetings, managers should give creative feedback and deliver it in a constructive manner. Make sure your managers are familiar with how best to deliver and receive feedback so that every employee gets an equal opportunity to improve their work according to the requirement.

3) Not get enough time:

While managers should be engaged and ask questions during one-on-one ultimately, they should let direct reports take the lead, which will let them steer the conversation and bring up new subjects like issues they’re having at work or home, as well as their career aspirations and professional interests. 

How often should you have one-on-ones?

According to a report by The State of High Performing Teams in Tech, having one-on-ones weekly for 30 minutes is the most commonplace. Although 30-minute weekly one-on-ones seem to be the most common thing, the length and frequency of your one-on-one meeting will differ for each manager-employee relationship.

The purpose of having one-on-one meetings

One-on-ones are a tool to keep your team members engaged and build trust in the organization. One-on-ones are a valuable way to deal with a lot of common workplace challenges and even eliminate the issue altogether. 

One-on-ones are a dedicated time to talk about whatever’s needed for the issue or project but should be more than a status update meeting. Ideally, One-on-One conversations are balanced between growth, communication, motivation and work.

Difference between one on one and group meetings

One-on-one meeting

Group meeting

A one-on-one meeting making time for an employee shows you care and is the optimal time to check in with that member of your team on how they are doing in their role, their strengths, weaknesses, and what you can do to help them succeed.

A group meeting can be your organization in various ways a one-on-one cannot.

This is a chance to get everyone on the same page and encourage communication, collaboration, and workplace culture.

The one-on-one meeting gives you chance to have a personal, honest conversation.

Whether it be with a new employee or someone who has been with the company for years, an individual meeting gives you both an opportunity to build a stronger relationship and trust. 

Departments that wouldn’t regularly interact with each and employees who work remotely and rarely make it into the office can all be called into the same room.

You can use this time to ask about anything! You may want to know about your employee’s experience with the new policies of the company implemented, overall job satisfaction, or even provide feedback on their job performance.

With a group meeting, you have the ability to create an interactive environment where new perspectives, ideas, and knowledge can be shared. 

Challenges of one on one meetings. and how you can overcome them

1) Lack of preparation

Challenge: “Which meeting is this for again?” or " which is the next meeting?'' It’s the undeniable way to know that your meeting will be filled with people who either don’t know what’s going on or don’t care, making it quite difficult to land on new ideas and solutions.

Solution: Preparing meeting materials before time spreads participant awareness for the issues, generates interest, and builds confidence quick way to get employees engaged is by building a meeting agenda and sharing it with the employee for feedback.

2) Too many talking points

Challenge: We only have a few hours or minutes in a day, to complete one-on-one meetings if there are many talking points in a meeting. A common challenge in meetings is that employees will underestimate the time it takes to thoroughly cover a topic point so consider leaving time for subtopics, clarification questions, and planning the next steps.

Solution: Keep the focus on the main topics and narrow in on the important points. Ensure that you have enough time to completely present, one-on-one meetings may be able to progress through points quicker.

3) Poor communication between meeting people

Challenge: You can’t say that everyone will have the same approach power to brainstorming, solving issues, or communicating. However, not aligning on the meeting purpose and schedule is an issue that’s harder to get around, and this can cause slow productivity in a person.

Solution: Create a good environment and healthy work relationships to help to discuss matters. If you have a new team or you’re having trouble deciding how to approach a one-on-one meeting, will help you learn what works best for your team and give you time to co-ordinates with them.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your one-on-one meeting:

1. Decide a time that works best for both: 

If this is your first one-on-one with an employee, decide what time works best for both you and your direct report to meet and both can reliably commit to.

2. Schedule meetings:

Make your one-on-one low effort by booking a recurring meeting rather than a new one each week or month. Then you’ll both have them on your calendar long-term and won’t forget to book the next one.

3. Set expectations for your team:

Start meeting by telling your employees exactly how you want your one-on-one meeting to go. Explain both your role and responsibility. 

4. Add questions to your agenda: 

Think of questions or topics you want to discuss in advance and add them to the agenda. 

5. Send a reminder: 

Give your employee a little a day before the meeting to complete the agenda 

6. Set a time before:

Block off 10 minutes before the meeting to collect left-out data. You don’t want to be late or left out in a one-on-one meeting. Use the time to review your agenda and be focused and prepared.


Gearing up for one-on-one meetings can seem like a daunting task — especially if you’re not sure what to expect. But if you’re prepared, these meetings can act as powerful catalysts for positive change in your relationships and overall happiness.

One-on-one meetings can help your employees build relationships and feel valued, they can also make employees feel better and appreciated. 

While One-on-Ones are supposed to be more informal check-ins, they do need some particular structure to ensure they’re a success. It helps managers to train the company on how to lead engaging and valuable profit for the company. 

FAQ's on One on One Meetings:

What do you discuss in a first one-on-one meeting?

Managers utilize the first meeting to not only understand more about the new employee's life, FUDs (if any), career aspirations and immediate goals; but also to open up about themselves and their expectations for the new employee.

What kind of questions must one ask during a One-on-One meeting?

  • Are you comfortable with 1-on-1 meetings? 

  • How well do you take constructive feedback? 

  • Do you think these meetings should take place every week/month/quarter? 

  • What are your expectations for these meetings?

What makes a one-on-one meeting effective?

One-on-one should drive the agenda with key priorities, be actively engaged, communicate candidly, think about problems and solutions, and be willing to ask for help and act on feedback.


January 23


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