Tips on Having an Effective One-on-One Meeting
Many employees think one-on-one meetings are useless. They go through the motions and expect nothing to come out of it. The reason could be simple. The wrong questions are being asked and nothing worthy is discussed.
You want to get the most out of these sit-downs as a leader. These are not ordinary conversations, although you want to set a conversational tone to create a relaxed atmosphere. Much feedback can be gained from one-on-one meetings if done right. The challenge is that many bosses don’t realize that it’s their responsibility to conduct meaningful discussions.
If you’re a manager, boss or the top person in your organization, take note of the following before you call or schedule a sit-down.
1. The first step is to review notes from past meetings. It will give you an idea of where your starting point is.
2. The next step is to prepare questions relevant to the person you’re to meet. Don’t waste time on subjects your employee doesn’t know about. Avoid templates or generic questionnaires. These don’t do much good today. However, there are basic questions that you should consider and here are several:
• What’s new? The answer could be anything and that’s okay. This is a conversation starter and an ice breaker.
• Where are we with this project? (or anything ongoing). You’re asking for updates and a progress report.
• Are there concerns or problems you would like to bring up?
• What is your solution to the problem you’ve mentioned?
• Do you need any help like support from other departments?
• “Do you need more funds?” instead of “are you operating within budget?” The latter implies a colleague is a spendthrift.
• Are you on track to achieve your weekly/month/quarter/year goals?
• How can I be of help?
Encourage your employee to keep talking. So don’t forget the following:
· Go on…
· Why do you think that?
· Tell me more.
· Give me an example.
3. Listen and take notes, which means putting on silent distractions like phones. You may not agree, but acknowledge what your employee is saying. Also, you shouldn’t talk too much or too little. Offer suggestions and advice when you can.
4. Recap and plan for the next meeting. Summarize everything discussed and ask your employee if you missed anything. Also, determine what needs to be addressed the next time you meet.
After your meeting, evaluate how you did and find out how you can do better next time.