10 Easy Ways to Make One-on-One Meetings More Effective

Two people exchanging a high five in a virtual meeting, Frankli performance management and engagement software

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One-on-one meetings are among the most powerful tools managers and leaders have at their disposal. Not only do they help you build strong relationships with your people, but they provide an opportunity to catch up on goals, exchange feedback, identify issues, and ask the important questions that may otherwise go unasked. Whether you’re planning a one-on-one meeting with HR, or catch-ups with your direct reports, your manager or a colleague from another team, our tips will help make it more meaningful. 

One-on-one Meetings with Employees: 10 Easy Ways to Make Them More Effective

1. Set Talking Points in Advance

We’ve all had the experience of leaving a meeting and realising that you didn’t cover all the areas you wanted to discuss. Setting and sharing talking points in advance gives your one-on-one meeting structure, and gives the other person time to prepare thoughtful answers. See our one-to-one meeting talking point templates.

2. Do your Homework

Really productive and fruitful meetings require a certain amount of preparation, which of course depends on the type of chat you’ve planned. For conversations around performance, you might want to review the progress on your goals or the goals of the team, for example. At the very least, you should take some time to review the agenda or talking points, make a note of any questions or comments you need to bring up, and share any documents that might be useful.

3. Schedule Time for Prep

It’s tempting to plan back-to-back meetings when you’re busy, but even a 10-minute time block before your one-on-one meeting can have a huge impact on its success. Scheduling a short prep session in your calendar right before the meeting will give you time to remind yourself of the meeting’s purpose, review the talking points, add any last-minute notes or documents, and ensure you don’t run late. 

4. Set the Tone

Launching straight into your talking points can catch the other person off guard. Instead, begin with a few casual lead-in questions to help you both relax, and signal that your meeting is a safe and friendly space. It’s a good idea to reference the goal of the meeting within the first few minutes too, so everyone is on the same page.

5. Practice Active Listening

It’s easy to take a very industrious approach to meetings, and miss the opportunity to really connect with the other person in a meaningful way. Active listening is how we ensure we’re really hearing someone when they speak. Concentrate on their words, repeat what they’re saying to ensure you understand them, and avoid jumping in with solutions right away.

6. Find the Right Balance of Voices

Meetings are rarely productive when one person does all the talking. Who should lead the conversation depends heavily on the goal and subject of the meeting, but ideally, there should be a balance of both voices. 

7. Create Clear Action Points

There’s nothing more frustrating than when a meeting ends without any kind of resolution or agreed next steps. Don’t move onto the next talking point unless you’ve reached some kind of conclusion, even if the conclusion is, “Let’s pick up this subject again this time next week.”

8. Use Automation to Free up Time

Scheduling, preparing for and following up after one-on-one meetings takes time, and the more of this work you can entrust to a software platform like Frankli, the better. With Frankli, you can automate scheduling recurring meetings, setting talking points using a bank of templates, sharing the agenda and relevant documents, preparing relevant data on performance, recording notes from the meeting, assigning action points and setting reminders to complete them. See Frankli’s 1:1 Meeting space in action.

9. Be Open to Different Types of One-on-One Meeting

One-on-one meetings are useful for regular check-ins and discussions on performance, but they can be so much more. View them as an opportunity to focus on topics that don’t sit comfortably in other types of meetings, for example, career progression, team efficiency, wellbeing and employee satisfaction.

10. Record and Analyse the Data

Is everyone on your team participating in regular one-on-ones? What types of conversations are happening on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly and quarterly basis? The answers to these questions can help us build clearer pictures of company culture and employee engagement, and identify people who might not be getting the support they need, and are at risk of leaving.

With Frankli, you can automate meeting admin in minutes, and, more importantly, ensure the right conversations are happening with the right people at the right time. Speak to a member of our team to find out more.

Managers and leaders all over the world use Frankli to help them have better conversations with their people

‍60-Second Version: One-on-one Meetings with Employees: 10 Easy Ways to Make Them More Effective

1. Set talking points in advance, and share them with the other person, so they can prepare thoughtful responses.

2. Take time to review the agenda or talking points in advance, make a note of any questions or comments you need to bring up, and share any documents that might be useful to have in front of you.

3. Schedule 10 minutes for prep immediately before the meeting to remind yourself of the meeting’s purpose and ensure you don’t run late. 

4. Begin with a few casual lead-in questions, and reference the goal of the meeting within the first few minutes.

5. Practice active listening by concentrating on the person’s words, and repeating the message back to them to ensure you understand.

6. Find the right balance of voices. It’s fine for one person to lead the discussion, but they shouldn’t dominate it.

7. Don’t move onto the next talking point unless you’ve agreed upon some next steps, even if the next step is, “pick up this subject again this time next week.”

8. Use a platform like Frankli to automate one-on-one meeting scheduling, prep, note sharing and follow-up. See Frankli’s 1:1 Meeting space in action.

9. Be open to different types of one-on-one meeting. View them as an opportunity to focus on topics that don’t sit comfortably in other types of meetings, for example, career progression, team efficiency, or employee satisfaction.

10. Analyse the data from your team’s meetings to build clearer pictures of employee engagement, company culture and identify people who may be at risk of leaving. 

With Frankli, you can automate meeting admin in minutes, and, more importantly, ensure the right conversations are happening with the right people at the right time. Speak to a member of our team to find out more.

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