15 Dos and 4 Don’ts for Holding Effective One-on-One Meetings

If you’re new to a lead role, you’re probably keen to learn how to hold effective one-on-one meetings with employees.

I’ve held hundreds of these over the past 10 years, so I know as well as anyone how crucial they can be in keeping your people engaged and forging strong relationships. 

Today, I wanted to share some of the tips and principles that have stuck with me throughout the years, so let’s dive in. 

Tips for Holding Effective One-on-One Meetings with Employees:

Before your Meeting:

DO Commit to holding regular one-on-one meetings. All the research suggests that frequency of one-on-one meetings play a significant role in engaging your people. If you only remember one tip on this list, let it be this one!

DON’T Treat one-on-one meetings like an unwelcome chore, to be banished to the bottom of your to-do list. If you’re serious about getting the best from your people, you have to be willing to invest time and energy in these meetings.

DO Make sure a time to meet is agreed and understood. 30 minutes is a good number to start with.

DO Automate the scheduling of meetings, and, if possible, the process of collaborating on talking points, taking notes and creating action points. Tools like Frankli make this really easy, freeing up your time to focus on other things.

DO Have a rolling agenda with set talking points. Consider holding a regular operations 1:1 meeting, and a separate 1:1 meeting focused on career development.

DO Ensure there’s an opportunity for you both to share notes, collaborate and comments ahead of the meeting.

DON’T Show up unprepared. Carve out some time in your calendar to review the talking points in advance.

DON’T Cancel or re-schedule at the last minute. This one’s a big no-no! Show them you regard this time as important. If you absolutely can’t make it, give them as much notice as possible and postpone rather than cancel.

DURING YOUR MEETING:

DON’T Charge straight into the talking points. Take a few minutes to get a sense of how things are going. Ask about their general day to day and don’t be afraid to ask how things are going outside of work.

DO Allow them to take the lead. Remember, the talking points are there as a guide. If something urgently needs to be discussed, take the time to do so.

DO Link their contribution back to the wider company mission when discussing progress on goals. Show how their progress is directly impacting the company’s progress.

DO Ask for context when concerns or difficulties are raised. Ask them to give an example, to outline the impact of the problem, and encourage them to look for possible solutions.

DO Take the time to recognise wins. Remember that a one-to-one meeting provides an opportunity to celebrate victories, big and small.

DO Try to finish on a positive note, regardless of how the meeting went.

DO Take notes, and summarise the points discussed at the end of your meeting.

DO Create points to action after the meeting. Answer the question, “What are the steps we need to take to make progress with this?” Where possible, provide a timeline for these.

AFTER YOUR MEETING:

DO Remember that the work you do after a one-on-one meeting is equally, if not more important, than the one-on-one itself.

DO Write down a summary of the points discussed and share it with your team member. Be sure to do this promptly and not weeks after the meeting took place.

DO Follow through on your action points. And let your team member know if you’re going to be late in completing these.

Frankli helps companies manage one-to-ones through automated scheduling, talking point templates, and shared notes features, all of which link back to your Tasks, Goals and Key Results. You can find out more here.

1-Minute Version:

Dos and Don’ts for Holding Effective One-on-One Meetings with Employees

BEFORE YOUR MEETING:

DO Commit to holding regular one-on-one meetings. 

DO Make sure a time to meet is agreed and understood. 30 minutes is a good number to start with.

DO Automate the scheduling of meetings with a tool like Frankli.

DO Have a rolling agenda with set talking points.

DO Ensure there’s an opportunity for you both to share notes in advance.

DON’T Show up unprepared.

DON’T Cancel or re-schedule at the last minute.

DURING YOUR MEETING:

DON’T Charge straight into the talking points without asking them how things are going first. 

DO Allow them to take the lead. 

DO Link their contribution back to the wider company mission.

DO Ask for context when concerns or difficulties are raised.

DO Take the time to recognise wins.

DO Try to finish on a positive note.

DO Take notes, and summarise the points discussed at the end of your meeting.

DO Create points to action after the meeting.

AFTER YOUR MEETING:

DO Write down a summary of the points discussed and share it with your team member.

DO Follow through on your action points.

Managing one-on-one meetings with your employees is easier with Frankli. You can find out more here.


Continue reading

Image of a women writing in her journal at a desk that is used to frame signing-up to the frankli newsletter
Our content to your inbox

Get great curated content

Get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research direct to your inbox
No spam!