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 Effective One-on-One Meetings

As a manager, your ability to effectively coach members of your team will have a significant impact on their overall performance and engagement. You owe each employee who reports to you the time and attention necessary to coach them so that they can succeed in their jobs. Conducting efficient 1:1 meetings is one way to increase the lines of communication between the two of you.

What can you listen to while reading?

Before your one-on-one meeting

Frequency: how often to meet

Many managers wonder how often they should meet with their reports one-on-one. Is once a month sufficient, or must it be done on a weekly basis? The solution is straightforward. What matters most is to establish a habit of having 1:1s in the first place. Aside from best practices, you'll need to create a rhythm that works for you and your team. There are, nevertheless, certain general guidelines to follow.

The sweet spot for 1:1 meetings is once or twice a week for 30 to 60 minutes. This range is promoted by Google re:Work, Radical Candor author Kim Scott, and many others.

The default should be weekly 1:1s. However, the frequency of 1:1 meetings may be reduced depending on the depth of collaboration and the number of reports. Consider holding bi-weekly meetings if you and your reports work closely together and can talk all day every day. It's fine to meet every other week if your team has more than five members.

Monthly 1:1s should be the exception, as a lot can happen in a month and you risk losing touch with your contacts.

Set a Recurring Schedule

1-on-1s must be done on a regular basis in order to be effective. Once you've decided on a cadence, make sure 1:1s are planned and posted to the calendar as a recurring meeting. This is a subtle but effective method for managers to demonstrate that they care about the 1:1 connection and will continuously make time for the individual.

Things happen, and schedules change, but instead of canceling the 1:1, try to reschedule as soon as possible. The event should have a clear and succinct name. In most cases, "1:1 – [your name] & [report's name]:" suffices. When both attendees look up their calendars, they will immediately recognize the meeting.

Where and how to meet

The richest form of communication is face-to-face communication. As a result, meet in person whenever possible. Instead of canceling the meeting because you can't make it in person, switch to the next-richest medium: video.

A small conference room is typically the most convenient and quiet area when you are both in the same office. Once you've established a good 1:1 schedule, consider sometimes mixing it up by leaving the office on. Take a step outside, visit a café, and be inventive. Pick a location where you and your report feel comfortable communicating openly, regardless of where you meet.

If you're in a remote location, try to mimic a face-to-face conversation as much as feasible. Through video chat, the 100% distributed team can do 1:1s.

Prepare 1-on-1 Meeting Agenda

As you consider the pain points you’d like to discuss, take time to think about the sources of these challenges. Make a list of questions to include in your agenda. Don't leave your one-on-one to chance. Make a list of questions or topics you'd like to cover ahead of time and put them on the agenda.

Use a shared agenda. 

You and your direct report can both add agenda topics and prepare for the meeting ahead of time by using a collaborative agenda.

Ask your direct report to contribute.

Don't just provide the agenda; openly request input so your direct report understands that this is their meeting to discuss what they want.

Keep everything in one place. 

Gather all of your one-on-one meeting agendas in one central location that you and your direct report can view at any time.

Set aside time beforehand. 

Allow yourself 10 minutes before the meeting to gather your thoughts. You don't want to have a one-on-one meeting right after a sales call or a large group gathering. Use this time to go through your schedule and ensure that you arrive focused and prepared.

1:1 meeting tools

Create personalized 1:1 templates for regular check-ins and specialized subjects such as goal-setting and career development.

If your performance management software has a 1:1 meeting feature, you may be able to simply prepare for 1:1 meetings by examining the other person's goals, feedback they've received, and any previous notes you've taken.

Me and team tried below online tools and we found these very helpful and effective tools

Officevibe, Hypercontext, Range

There are different types of 1:1s

While your ongoing 1:1 meetings will most likely cover a wide range of topics, you should notice that they have a "rhythm" to them with recurring themes, as noted above.

Your first 1:1 meeting, on the other hand, will require a different flavor. If you're a manager and this is your first time working with your new report, you'll probably need some time to get to know each other, which is why the initial 1:1 is so vital.

Example topics to cover in a 1-on-1 in impraise

1. Work habits and employee performance

  • Which time of day do you feel most productive?

  • What changes could be made so you can optimize your day?

  • What are your biggest time wasters right now?

  • Are you encountering any roadblocks and if so, what are they?

2. Team collaboration

  • Who inspires you in the team? Why?

  • Would you like to receive more feedback from other team members?

  • Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to others?

  • Do you have any suggestions for improvement in the way we work together?

3. Levels of engagement

  • What in particular do you enjoy about working here?

  • What do you least prefer doing and why?

  • What keeps you engaged and inspired at work?

  • Do you have any concerns when it comes to your role or career opportunities?

4. Short & long-term performance goals

  • How are you progressing on your goals? Do you need any help?

  • Are you facing any bottlenecks? What might help remove them?

  • How have you determined your longer term goals?

  • Which part of your job do you feel is the most relevant to your long-term goals?

5. Professional development goals and plan

  • How do you like to learn?

  • What are some skills you would like to develop?

  • What are some experiences you would like to gain?

  • What do you enjoy most and least about your job?

  • What projects have you enjoyed working on recently, and why?

  • Would you benefit from more coaching?

6. Manager improvement

  • How can I better support you in your job?

  • Do you find my communication clear and easy to understand, or is there something I can do to improve?

  • Do I clearly communicate our company’s vision and mission to you?

  • Are our team vision and goals clear to you?

  • Do you feel empowered in your role?

  • Do you feel supported in your career development?

  • How to wrap-up the 1-on-1

Another 1:1 templates are here.

During your one-on-one meeting

Start with an icebreaker.  

Asking them what they're looking forward to is an easy way to start. Alternatively, how they're doing.

Do less than 50% of the talking.

  It's simple to use your own voice to fill awkward silences. That is not something you should do. Allow your employees to take the lead and ask the questions that will get the dialogue started. If you feel like you've been chatting for too long (believe us, you'll know), take a break.

            Listen to understand. 

If you talk less, you'll be able to listen more. However, in addition to hearing to reply, make sure you're actively listening to try to understand your employee's motivations.

Avoid status updates.

When a manager or team member states they don't believe in the value of effective one-on-one meetings, you can bet they'll spend the majority of the time discussing projects and status updates. That's a colossal waste.

Talk about goals. 

One-on-ones are a fantastic time to discuss where your direct report fits into the wider picture, as well as how they're contributing to the company and team goals. Also, learn about their own goals so that you can work together to achieve them.

Share feedback.

  Quarterly reviews aren't the only time for feedback. At the very least, your one-on-one meeting should be a secure area for sharing feedback. Your one-on-ones, whether big or small, are a consistent opportunity to address any concerns as soon as possible so your direct report can correct the course. Then, when it's time for quarterly reviews, no one is caught off guard.

            Ask for feedback. 

In a one-on-one situation, feedback should be given both ways. However, it's understandable that direct reports find it difficult to provide constructive criticism to their supervisors, especially when it's unprompted. Solicit feedback by asking specific questions like, "What can I be doing differently to help you be successful?"

Ask about the good, bad and ugly. 

We mean this literally: "What's good, what's awful, what's ugly" should be on your to-do list (or your version of this). This is a wonderful method to get a sense of how your team member is feeling and figure out what's exciting (and overwhelming!) them.

Pay attention to non-verbal communication. 

Even if you don't realize it, your posture and tone communicate a lot. Send silent signs that you're available and listening. If you're doing a remote one-on-one, this means you have to look at the camera and not at your computer. Make an attempt to connect with others.

Avoid yes or no questions. 

Avoid asking closed-ended yes or no questions to open up the dialogue. If you ask a yes or no question, be sure to explain why.

1:1 meeting notes

Misunderstandings can be avoided by creating a summary of the major conclusions and sharing it with the other participants — either during or after the meeting. It also makes it simpler to follow up on topics you discussed. You can also take private notes to keep a personal record of the 1:1 and capture key takeaways for future reference.

After your one-on-one meeting

            Assign next steps. 

Hold each other accountable by assigning next steps.Make a list of who is responsible for what and when it needs to be completed.

Revisit past meetings. 

Both you and your employee should be able to retrieve past meeting notes quickly and easily to examine next steps, decisions taken, and topics discussed.

Follow up, follow up, follow up! 

What good are decisions and action items if you don't follow through with them? Remember to follow up with your employee to see what was discussed, what steps were taken, and any feedback that was given. They'll appreciate your efforts to make them feel heard.


Managers may use these meetings to check on productivity, morale, and gain a better understanding of their teams' context, allowing them to construct more engaged and high-performing teams. One-on-one meetings can be a powerful source of creativity, professional development, and organizational success.


The Big Book of 350 One-on-One Meeting Questions

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