1 on 1 Meeting

Ever had a meeting where it’s just you, your boss, and a cup of coffee? Welcome to the wonderful world of 1 on 1 meetings! These meetings are the secret sauce for effective communication within any organization, making sure everyone is on the same page – or at least in the same book.

What is a 1 on 1 Meeting?

A 1 on 1 meeting is a scheduled time where managers and their direct reports discuss work progress, provide feedback, tweak strategies, and set future directions without the distractions of group dynamics. It’s a dedicated space for heart-to-heart conversations about your goals, achievements, hurdles, and plans, ensuring both parties are aligned and informed.

Why are 1 on 1 Meetings Important?

Why? Because no one likes to be in the dark, especially not you. These meetings help build rapport, trust, and transparency between you and your manager. They provide a safe space to express concerns, celebrate wins, plan for the future, and maybe even share that hilarious office meme your friend sent you (just to lighten the mood).

When done right, 1 on 1s can help:

  • Boost Morale: Feel acknowledged and appreciated.
  • Improve Performance: Get direct feedback and guidance.
  • Enhance Collaboration: Strengthen your relationship with your manager.
  • Clarify Expectations: Understand what’s expected of you and how you’re performing.
  • Career Development: Discuss growth opportunities and professional development.

According to Gallup, employees who have regular 1-on-1 meetings with their managers are almost three times more likely to be engaged at work compared to those who don’t have regular meetings.

How to Prepare for a 1 on 1 Meeting?

Preparation is key! You wouldn’t go to a knight jousting competition in swim trunks, would you? Here’s your go-to checklist:

  • Set an Agenda: Have a list of topics to discuss – from pending projects to career aspirations.
  • Provide Updates: Be ready to discuss your progress, challenges, and accomplishments.
  • Feedback: Think of constructive feedback for your manager. Yes, they need it too!
  • Questions: Any doubts or need guidance? This is the perfect time.
  • Goals and Aspirations: Share your career goals and seek advice on how to achieve them.
  • Personal Development: Discuss any training or resources you might need

A study by Harvard Business Review found that only 20% of employees believe their managers are effective at preparing for 1 on 1 meetings.

Tips for a Productive 1 on 1 Meeting

  • Be Honest and Open: Transparency is vital. Be honest about your successes and areas where you need help.
  • Listen Actively: Pay attention to your manager’s feedback and ask clarifying questions if needed.
  • Follow Up: After the meeting, send a summary of the discussion points and action items to ensure alignment and accountability.
  • Consistency is Key: Regularly scheduled 1 on 1s (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) keep communication channels open and issues from festering.
  • Balance Professional and Personal: While it’s important to stay on topic, a bit of personal chat can build stronger rapport and make the meeting more enjoyable.

Common Pitfalls in 1 on 1 Meetings

  • Lack of Preparation: Showing up like a deer in headlights won’t help. Plan ahead.
  • Monopolizing the Conversation: It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. Allow your manager to speak too.
  • Avoiding Difficult Topics: Confront issues head-on (like a brave squirrel crossing a busy road).
  • Not Taking Notes: Memory is fallible. Write down important points for reference.
  • Infrequent Meetings: Sporadic meetings can lead to miscommunication and unresolved issues. Stick to a regular schedule.
  • Ignoring Action Items: Failing to act on discussed points can make future meetings less productive. Follow through on commitments.

Examples of 1 on 1 Meeting Agendas

To give you a clearer idea, here are a few sample agendas tailored to different needs:

Performance Review Agenda:

  • Review of recent projects and tasks
  • Feedback from the manager
  • Discussion of any challenges faced
  • Setting goals for the next period
  • Career development opportunities

According to a report by Deloitte, employees who have regular career discussions with their managers are 2.5 times more likely to be satisfied with their career progression, emphasizing the role of 1 on 1 meetings in career development.

Project Check-In Agenda:

  • Status updates on current projects
  • Review of project timelines and deadlines
  • Identification of any obstacles and solutions
  • Feedback on project performance
  • Planning next steps

Career Development Agenda:

  • Discussion of career goals and aspirations
  • Review of current skills and areas for improvement
  • Identification of training and development opportunities
  • Setting long-term career objectives
  • Planning steps to achieve career goals

Leveraging Technology for 1 on 1 Meetings

Leveraging technology can enhance the effectiveness of your 1 on 1 meetings. Consider using tools like:

  • Google Calendar or Outlook: Schedule and send reminders for your meetings.
  • Trello or Asana: Track action items and progress from your meetings.
  • Google Meets, Zoom or Microsoft Teams: Conduct virtual 1 on 1s if you’re working remotely.
  • Evernote or OneNote: Take and organize meeting notes.

Wrapping it up

1 on 1 meetings are more than just a routine check-in—they’re an opportunity to foster a stronger working relationship, align on goals, and ensure mutual growth and success. By preparing effectively, communicating openly, and following through on action items, you can make the most out of these meetings. Be warned though, lack of preparation can make these meetings unproductive so ensure that you have a clearly laid out agenda that everyone can follow.  So grab that cup of coffee, sit down with your manager, and make your next 1 on 1 meeting a productive and meaningful experience.


Once a week or bi-weekly is usually ideal, but it depends on the nature of your job and your relationship with your manager. Regular check-ins promote continuous improvement.

Absolutely! Your input is vital. Bring up what matters most to you – be it project challenges, career growth, or feedback on your performance.

Consistency is key. Politely reschedule and emphasize the importance of these meetings. If it becomes a pattern, it might be worth discussing directly with your manager.

Yes, keeping a record of what was discussed helps in tracking progress and following up on action items. A simple email summary can do the trick.

Typically, 30 to 60 minutes is sufficient, but the duration can vary based on the topics discussed and the frequency of the meetings.

Use the time to provide updates on your projects, seek feedback, or discuss career development. Even if there are no pressing issues, maintaining regular communication is beneficial.

Be constructive and specific. Focus on behaviors and outcomes rather than personal traits, and frame your feedback as suggestions for improvement.

Address the issue directly by expressing your concerns. Suggest a balanced approach where both positive and constructive feedback are discussed to foster a more productive conversation.

Yes, virtual 1 on 1 meetings can be just as effective as in-person meetings, especially with the use of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet.