Making the most of your One-On-Ones

One-on-one meetings are a great way of keeping up with employees and team members, but how best to make the most out of this time? When schedules become busier, it can be easy to let these slip by the way side or only make a token effort to invest in them. Here are some tips for making your one-on-ones more collaborative and productive.

While email and phone calls may at times be more convenient, nothing can substitute a face-to-face meeting. Not only do they help build rapport but they show the individual that you value them enough to carve proper time out of your schedule and focus solely on them

  • Timing – book regular meetings, show up on time and don’t cancel!


  • Prepare – know what you want to discuss going into the meeting. If you don’t have time to discuss this with your employee before the meeting, ask him or her to jot down a couple of bullet points and you can do the same, giving the meeting a focus and helping to keep it on track. If you want to talk to them about their professional development, let them know ahead of time to give them time to prepare


  • Be flexible about the agenda – while you may have tentatively outlined what you are going to cover during the meeting, things change and your colleague may have something more pressing to discuss than they thought when creating the agenda


  • Use open-ended questions – these are helpful for getting the conversation going and for getting a more complete, thought out answer


  • Be present – focus on your colleague and make sure you are actively listening to what they are saying, not just ticking off a box on your to do list. Turn off any digital distractions


  • Being the meeting by sharing a win – if possible, this will create a positive vibe for the meeting. Similarly, try to end the meeting on a positive note by thanking them for their time, their work, their ideas, whatever seems appropriate. This of course only works if it is genuine, but it goes a long way towards building good working relationships


Adapted from Harvard Business Review (August 2016)