As professionals, often we’re required to be in one-on-one meetings, either leading them or reporting to a superior – and sometimes to check in on how your performance at the company is going. And in a one-on-one meeting, there’s no way passively sit back and disengage; you have to participate.
It’s not always easy for you as the boss to come prepared to the meeting while also maintaining an open and encouraging atmosphere. And on the other side, as an employee, how do you show your best side during one-on-one meetings and avoid nervousness or timidity? We’re here to help with our best advice and what we do in our meetings at Blue Summit Supplies.
An important thing to remember before you go into a one-on one meeting is to remember that these meetings aren’t just to get an update and check in on how things are or how someone is doing. Yes, those are things that can be brought up during the meeting, but on the whole, a one-on-one meeting is “to unearth feedback, issues, and concerns within the team.” This is important to remember because in the course of everyday work, the chance to bring up issues, concerns, and raise questions isn’t one that often comes up. Take advantage of this opportunity during your one-on-one meetings and don’t sweep issues under the rug. Bring up things that are on your mind, or even just ask questions about why things are done a certain way.
This can help if you have meeting anxiety, too. Remember that this isn’t a stripped, stressful situation where you’re being interrogated or doing the interrogating. Instead, reframe it in your mind as a chance for you and your boss (or employee) to get on the same page and make sure that questions anyone has get answered.
One-on-one meetings also help grow relationships and push employees to work towards their goals, whether they’re in-office or at home. In a digital world where most communication is now done via email, text, or whatever chat system your office might have, one-on-one meetings still have a place and serve a big purpose in offices.
So now that you can (hopefully) relax heading into your meeting, how do you come prepared for it, whether you’re the boss or an employee?
As the boss or project manager, it’s doubly important that you are prepared for the meetings, because nobody wants to sit through a meeting where the person in charge is disorganized. Here are some tips for how to be prepared and set the tone when you meet one-on-one with an employee.
This is beneficial for two reasons: the first is that you know when it is and have time to prepare and the second is that if other workers know you have meetings, you won’t get frequent interruptions about the project or tasks you’re meeting about. It also makes it so that your workers know that meetings are going to happen and that they aren’t a surprise which also helps lower their stress levels about them.
This can mean a lot of things, from just asking how the weekend was at the start of the meeting to chatting about golf or whatever shared interests you may have with a co-worker. Just being friendly and talking about non-work stuff can be a good way to break the ice or end the meeting. But being personal can also apply to the work topics being discussed. You can share how you reacted or did things when they ask how something should be done, or when a similar problem to something you experienced comes up. And doing things like the boss does them is something every employee wants to do.
This is one of the easiest and most important things a leader can do in a one-on-one meeting,for a lot of reasons. They can help employees stay on track, or solve problems, or give you a better understanding of why a project or task was done a certain way. It also shows that you’re attentive, willing to listen, and that you value what your employees have to say. Plus it can springboard to other questions or things that you or your employee have. But keep your questions focused. A good rule of thumb is 1-3 focus areas, and 5-10 brainstorm questions that you can touch on. It’s also a good idea to have your 1-3 focus area questions written down beforehand, so you know what things you would like to discuss during the meeting.
If you’re not a manager or boss and you’re on the passive side of these one-on-one meetings, there are a number of things you can do to ensure this face-to-face time will be maximized and not be wasted or awkward.
This may be your only solo time with your team leader or boss. While they will have things they want to discuss, it’s just as important for you to get clarity on the issues or topics that matter to you. Plus, you don’t want to put all the onus on your boss or supervisor to have things to talk about in the meeting. A little forethought makes you look more prepared and possibly even excited for this meeting to happen.
This goes for any meeting or discussion, but taking notes is one of the easiest, best things you can do to get the most out of meetings. It shows that you want to learn, shows that you pay attention to detail, and most importantly, helps you remember to do something or motivates you even more to do it. When you take notes, it dramatically improves your chances of remembering or learning something.
If you know you have the meeting coming, take advantage of that and write down your questions, concerns, or topics you want to discuss during the one-on-one meeting. Don’t wait until the last minute where you’re scrambling to come up with what you want to talk about. By being ready for the meeting in advance, you can speak more confidently on the things you bring up, and it also makes you ready for any counter-questions you may get asked about your topic.
All of the advice and tips above can be a lot to remember, so we’ve created a handy one-on-one meeting agenda template. This will help you keep track of what you want to talk about, what questions you might have, or even what time the meeting is. Plus, it can also be handy to have something to write down what happens in the meeting, all in one place. Our template will get the ball rolling for keeping your meeting ideas, thoughts, and notes organized and in one place.
With these tips and tricks plus our handy agenda, you can be ready for any one-on-one meeting with your boss or employees.
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