What is

1-on-1 Meeting


A one-on-one meeting is a meeting between two people in an organization, usually had between an employee and their manager. Read the complete definition.

In today's fast-paced and often remote work environment, it’s crucial to find effective communication strategies. Open lines of communication within your team drive success and foster a culture of collaboration. 

That being said, too many team calls can be overwhelming and may even silence some ideas and voices. As a result, companies are turning to 1-on-1 meetings to enable better communication. 

Defining 1-on-1 Meetings

A 1-on-1 meeting is a conversation between a manager and a team member. These are dedicated meetings that take place on a regular basis; for example once a week, bi-weekly, or once a month. 

During a 1-on-1, the manager and employee discuss progress, challenges, aspirations, and so on. These meetings provide an opportunity to create rapport as they allow for a more personalized and focused space. They also support long-term performance management and status updates. 

Benefits of 1-on-1 Meetings

Organizations benefit from 1-on-1 meetings in several important ways. 

  1. Building Relationships: 1-on-1 meetings allow managers and team members to establish and nurture strong working relationships. They create a safe and open platform where team members feel valued, heard, and supported. This provides the opportunity for teams to foster trust and rapport.
  2. Aligning Expectations: These meetings also offer managers an opportunity to line up ideas with their teams, including expectations, goals, and priorities. During the meeting, they discuss performance reviews, objectives, and progress which then align with the broader team and organizational goals.
  3. Providing Support and Guidance: 1-on-1 meetings offer the space for managers to address their team's needs. During meetings, managers can provide guidance, mentorship, and support tailored to each team member's needs. Through dedicated conversation, managers can understand the strengths and areas for improvement of each team member. 
  4. Addressing Concerns and Challenges: It can be awkward for both staff and managers to voice concerns, discuss challenges, and seek guidance in a group setting. 1-on-1 meetings create a safe space to do so. 
  5. Tracking Progress: Regular 1-on-1 meetings provide the perfect setting to track progress, celebrate achievements, and identify areas for improvement. This helps employees stay on track and feel valued. 
  6. Hearing All Voices: Some people’s ideas may be lost in larger team meetings. Having dedicated sessions makes sure that managers get everyone’s views and opinions. 

Running 1-on-1 Meetings with Purpose 

Here are some ways you can ensure successful one-on-one meetings.  

  • Set a Regular Schedule: One-off meetings may be helpful, but won’t create a culture of active listening. As such, set a recurring schedule for 1-on-1 meetings to create consistency and prioritize these discussions.
  • Prepare a Meeting Agenda: It can be fun to chit-chat with team members, but setting an agenda will guide the meetings to have meaningful results. Make sure there is space for both the manager and the team members to voice their thoughts. 
  • Listen Actively: It’s not enough to tick the box on having a 1-on-1. Both parties need to practice active listening, showing genuine interest in the process.
  • Encourage Open Dialogue: The main point of 1-on-1 meetings is to encourage feedback and open lines of communication. Embrace open and honest communication and help your team members freely share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
  • Take Action: After the meeting is over, follow up on the feedback you’ve received. Make sure to take meeting notes throughout, so you don't miss any key points. This will demonstrate that you recognize and value your team’s input and build trust with employees.  

1-on-1 Meeting Template 

If you plan on running 1-on-1 meetings with your team, you should follow a well-planned agenda. Here is a 1-on-1 meeting template that might help. 

  1. Check-in and Relationship Building (5 minutes)
  • Discuss brief personal updates and icebreaker questions (optional)
  • Establish a positive atmosphere so the employee feels comfortable 
  • Provide a list of topics to discuss during the meeting
  1. Review of Previous Action Items (5 minutes)
  • Discuss the progress and completion of action items from the previous meeting
  • Address any challenges or obstacles encountered
  1. Employee Updates and Concerns (15 minutes)
  • Give the employee an opportunity to share updates on their projects, tasks, and goals
  • Discuss any challenges they are facing and offer support or guidance
  • Address any concerns or questions the employee may have
  1. Performance and Development (15 minutes)
  • Review the employee's performance and provide feedback
  • Discuss strengths and areas for improvement
  • Explore opportunities for growth and development
  • Set performance goals or objectives for the upcoming period
  1. Collaboration and Communication (10 minutes)
  • Discuss ongoing or upcoming collaboration efforts
  • Address any communication issues or improvements needed
  • Encourage open dialogue and suggestions for enhancing teamwork
  1. Recognition and Motivation (5 minutes)
  • Acknowledge the employee's achievements or milestones
  • Offer words of appreciation and recognition for their efforts
  • Discuss any additional support or resources needed
  1. Action Items and Next Steps (5 minutes)
  • Summarize key takeaways from the meeting
  • Identify and assign action items with clear deadlines and responsibilities
  • Confirm the date and time for the next one-on-one meeting
  1. Wrap-up (5 minutes)
  • Allow for any final questions or concerns
  • Express gratitude for the employee's time and contributions
  • End the meeting on a positive note

Successful Communication for Remote Teams 

1-on-1 meetings have become an essential tool for fostering effective communication across teams. They are particularly crucial for remote and distributed teams. It’s challenging to build rapport on a 10-person Zoom call, but 1-on-1 meetings create the perfect space to build relationships with your remote team members. 

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