October 20, 2016
Management 101: The Art of a 1:1 Meeting

Anyone who has ever had a boss understands the value that can come for having regular conversations together. Regular 1:1 meetings, when done well, can aid both people in staying on top of what’s going well - and allow for course corrections too.

If you are conducting 1:1 conversations, are you optimizing them? If you aren’t, read this and find a nudge of motivation to find the benefit in them. 

Read on for a few tips to help your next 1:1. 


Schedule what makes sense. Assuming you work closely with the person, connecting weekly is a good guideline. It doesn’t have to be a long arduous meeting. A simple half hour can provide enough time to cover basic updates and other issues.  


Pick a time and stick to it. Meetings are far less likely to slip if you have a set schedule you can both count on and hold yourself accountable to. 

Of course, sometimes things come up and bump your calendar. But if you let too many of these creep in, you are essentially signaling to your employee many other things are more important to you then your relationship with them. 


People should never be blindsided with the information shared during annual performance conversations. Regular 1:1 conversations allow you to share real time feedback about what’s going well - and not so well. 

When you get into the rhythm of having these types of conversations, not only are you building better collaboration, but you’ll be reducing surprises too.  


While every manager has their own approach, aim to keep the time structured to allow time for both of you to share and discuss items that are important to each of you. Also carve out a bit of time at the end for additional items, such as requests for time off.


As a manager, let your employee spend the bulk of the time talking. This is your time to listen and ask open-ended probing questions. It’s not just a time for a work pulse check. It’s a time to get to know one another better, build a stronger working relationship, discuss professional development, etc.  

These days, everyone is crunched for time, and the thought of fitting in more meetings into our schedules can be daunting. But prepare for and invest in 1:1s with your people and you just might find these are the most productive meetings of your week. 


Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator

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