10 Tips For the Best One-On-One Meetings

By Alex Medawar

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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One-on-one meetings are a great way to get personal with your employees or clients. They provide an opportunity for open communication and feedback.

One study found that one-on-one meetings have increased by over 500% since before the pandemic.

Furthermore, 85% of millennials value professional development and growth in a job, with one-on-one meetings offering the ideal opportunity for these discussions.

Paired with the explosion of remote and hybrid work, one-on-one meetings are more important now than ever before.

Read on for the top 10 tips for the best one-on-one meeting possible!

Manager One-On-One Meein

Purposes for One-On-One Meetings

One-On-One Meetings with Employees

In his book “Hard Things About Hard Things,” he discusses one-on-one meetings as the foundation of conversations. There are many free meetings to discuss pressing issues, brilliant ideas, and chronic frustrations which do not fit nicely into status reports, emails, or other less private and confidential means.

The meeting is primarily for employees or direct reports rather than managers, and he adds that it provides a good mechanism by which information can flow throughout the company. One-to-one meetings are a private room for open-ended discussions with your managers and their team members.

One-On-One Meetings with Clients

One-on-one client meetings are an opportunity to get to know your clients and their business. They also provide a chance for you to learn about their needs and how you can help them reach their goals. To make the most out of these meetings, it is important to be prepared.

10 Ways to Make One-On-One Meetings Successful

Harvard Business Review found that:

  1. So much depends on the manager.  “At least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is driven by who the boss is”
  2. 70% of people in management roles are not well-equipped for the job
  3. When managers neglect one on one meetings and job training, employees are four times as likely to be disengaged
  4. “Bad management” is estimated to cost the U.S. economy up to $398 billion annually

1. Don’t Let Them Cancel—Ask to Reschedule

The most common mistake that prevents a manager from having an effective one-on-one meeting with team members is that they cancel it.

One study found that an astonishing 40% of 1 on one meetings are rescheduled weekly.

We are all busy, but if you want to be a great manager, this is something you have to make time for. Outside of the regular performance reviews, try to schedule weekly meetings or check-ins with your employees for the greatest benefit.

Many things can prevent us from having an effective one on one meeting with our employees or clients, but the most common one is canceling.

If you cannot attend the meeting, be sure to reschedule it as soon as possible to prevent a backlog of topics that need to be addressed.

2. Avoid Status Updates

The one-on-one meeting is not the time or place for status updates. Save those for your team meetings, email, and project management tools.

This is the time to get personal with your employees or clients and discuss open communication and feedback. To make the most out of these meetings, it is important to be prepared.

Try to have at least three talking points on your meeting agenda.

Online One-On-One Meeings

3. Talk About Your Career Goals

Zippia reported this year that 65% of American workers are actively searching for a new full-time job.

Consequently, the one-on-one meeting is a perfect time for you to ask your employee about their career goals. As the manager, it is important to help your employee pave the path for their future, whether in your organization or elsewhere.

This is also a good opportunity for you to learn more about your employees’ career aspirations and how you can help them reach their goals.

This gives them a chance to ask you questions and get advice. As the manager, it is your responsibility to help guide your employees’ careers through professional growth and development.

4. Let Them Know You’re Here for Them

The one-on-one meeting should be safe for managers and employees to talk openly about their problems and frustrations. As the manager, it is important to express that you are there for them and that they can come to you with anything.

Your employees should feel like they can come to you with any problem or frustration that they’re experiencing without fear of retribution.

Let them know that you’re there for them and that you want to help them resolve any issues they may have, whether it be with work or other team members.

5. Bring Something You Want to Talk About

Don’t go into the one-on-one meeting without discussing any topics. Come prepared with a list of talking points, whether issued with their work or something else.

If you don’t have anything to discuss, the meeting will likely not be very productive. Come prepared with a list of topics within a meeting agenda that you want to discuss so that you can make the most out of these meetings.

This is also a good opportunity for your employees or clients to raise any issues or concerns that they may have.

The one meeting should be a time for both managers and employees to discuss open communication and feedback.

Make an agenda for your one-on-one meeting

Not sure where to start?

Having an agenda for your one-on-one meeting helps keep both you and your employee or client on track.

It’s also a good way to start the meeting to make sure that both of you have time to discuss everything that you want.

If you’re not sure where to start, try adding some questions to your agenda so that your team members have time to reflect on their answers. Additionally, always leave the conversation open to discuss growth and development.

This will help you get the most out of your one-on-one meeting and ensure that both of you can communicate openly and effectively.

Fun Online One-On-One Meeings

6. Take Time to Reflect

One-on-one meetings are great for reflection, a skill that can help you develop yourself and your career.

It’s not always easy to do this in an office environment, but one-on-one meetings offer the perfect opportunity to take some time for yourself and think about what went well and what didn’t over the past week or month.

This also gives you a chance to discuss any ideas for improving your skills or developing new ones.

While regular performance reviews offer a chance to reflect on the last year or quarter, weekly or bi-weekly check-ins can bridge the gap between these high-stakes reviews.

7. Give Them the Chance to Ask for Help

The beauty of one-on-one meetings is that they offer the perfect opportunity for your team members to ask for help.

This could be anything from asking for advice on dealing with a difficult situation at work to getting help in developing career goals.

As a manager, your job is to support your team. Don’t let your employees be afraid to ask for help. This is a great indication that they take pride in their work and want to succeed.

8. Use One-On-One Meetings to Talk About Personal Things

While one-on-one meetings are usually focused on work-related issues, it’s also important to use them as an opportunity to discuss any personal issues that might be affecting your team members.

This could be anything from stress at home to problems with their health. Talking about these things can help them manage better and may even help improve work performance.

Build Rapport

Aside from personal difficulties that may affect job performance, it’s vital to invite your employee or client to speak about anything else in their life that they are open to sharing.

The one-on-one meeting is when they feel comfortable speaking openly without interruption or judgment.

Allowing them this space will help build rapport and trust, which are essential for a successful working relationship.

Planning for Online One-On-One Meeings

9. Share Constructive Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback is a key part of a one-on-one meeting.

Make sure that you provide specific, actionable, and timely feedback.

This will help your employee or client understand what they need to do to improve their work performance or behavior.

On the other hand, make sure you listen carefully to any feedback your employee or client provides.

Not only does this show that you respect their opinion, but it also allows you to take their suggestions into account and improve your performance.

Be responsive to feedback. If someone provides feedback about something you’ve done wrong, don’t get defensive – instead, try to be responsive and learn from it.

10. Open the Door for Opportunities

One-on-one meetings offer a great opportunity for both you and your employees to discuss possible opportunities.

This could be anything from taking on new responsibilities at work to developing their skillset or training in a new area with professional development.

If you see an opportunity that you think would be a good fit for them, mention it during your one-on-one meeting.

This will help them out, but it also shows that you’re thinking about their future and are willing to help them grow as a professional.


One-on-one meetings are an essential part of any good working relationship. They offer you the opportunity to discuss anything with your team, from work-related issues to personal problems.

This can help you manage them better and improve your employee’s work performance. Use one-on-one meetings to build a better relationship with your direct reports and improve your communication skills.

Do You Have One-On-One Meetings?

If you have ideas about one-on-one meetings that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Alex Medawar on Linkedin
Alex Medawar
Alex Medawar
As a seasoned digital media expert, Alex Medawar focuses on B2B paid search campaign management and strategy for global brands in the tech space. Utilizing a data-driven approach, Alex believes that both small businesses and large enterprises alike can speak to their audience and drive results within the digital media landscape. For tools, resources, and more visit alexmedawar.com.
  • I get nervous a lot in one-on-one. I lost a lot of chances because of that. Now it’s great to finally have someone write a post on this topic. I hope the writer can come up with more topics like this.

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