Best Tricks to Excel at One-on-One Meetings with Employees

by / ⠀Blog / September 1, 2022
one-on-one meetings

A lot of managers and employers are pretty overwhelmed, even apprehensive at the idea of a one-on-one meeting with employees. And understandably so. After all, it’s not easy to give constructive feedback to people without making them feel crestfallen or defensive. Things can quickly spiral out of control.

Yes, the business has become digital in more ways than one these days. Most conversations are made via email, phone, or text. However, as a manager, you have to realize that nothing’s more effective than a face-to-face one-on-one meeting. Such meetings do wonders for productivity.

For one thing, one-on-one meetings reduce the chances of misinterpretation. Communication goes two ways, and you don’t have to wait long for a response. Additionally, you can tell how your feedback is perceived. These meetings also help your employees feel more comfortable in the workplace. This is your chance to show them they are valued in the company. But the question remains, how to handle these meetings?

Excelling at One-on-One Meetings with Employees: What Should Be Done?

boss in one-on-one meeting

Keep one thing in mind. As beneficial as these one-on-one meetings are, they can also have detrimental results if not done right. You have to conduct the meetings such that even if you criticize some of your employees’ work, they don’t feel dejected and instead take it as a lesson. Of course, this is easier said than done. But here are some tricks that can help you out.

Prepare Notes of Discussion Points

Yes, you have to be clear about the points you want to cover in the meeting beforehand. This helps keep you on the agenda and avoid distractions. Furthermore, there will be little chance of missing anything out.

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So before you go to a one-on-one meeting with your employees, it will help to have a list of bullet points about the things you want to discuss. This will also ensure that you get the most out of the meeting in the available time.

discussion points for one-on-one meetings

If you haven’t decided on what you want to say prior to the meeting, you will find it difficult to organize your thoughts at the time. As a result, your feedback will be all over the place, leaving your employees confused. Having pointers will ensure that your meeting remains on track the entire time.

Be Attentive During the Meeting

A lot of managers consider these one-on-one meetings a waste of time. Their mind often wanders during the meetings to what they could be doing during this time. Such an approach will never work and will only make your employees feel neglected.

Remember, you have to be fully present in these one-on-one meetings, not just physically but mentally too. You must give full attention to your employees to hear what he has to say. This will make him feel valued.

Turn off your phone if possible. Avoid focusing on anything else. This is the time to increase productivity in your organization which is vital for your growth. Therefore it deserves your complete attention.

Start on a Positive Note

Naturally, when you give feedback to your employees, it will not all be positive. You will have to cover some of their negative points too. Although this is inevitable, your approach matters.

Always make it a point to start the meeting with something positive. Acknowledge their efforts, compliment their work or appreciate how they have completed a project before moving on to criticism. This will give your one-on-one meetings much-needed positive energy.

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Endeavor to Solve the Problems at Hand

Don’t forget that these meetings are meant to be productive. Of course, you want to build a rapport with your employees via these meetings. But they have to achieve something too.

Therefore, use these meetings as an opportunity to solve crucial impending problems. You must learn how to strike a balance. Listen to what your employees have to say, but don’t forget to ask relevant and vital questions in between.

Keep It Personal

Don’t go overboard in proving your authority in one-on-one meetings. Yes, you are their superior. But also have to make them feel comfortable conversing with you. And this wouldn’t be possible if you adopt a completely professional approach.

One of the best ways to put your employees at ease is by communicating with them on a more personal level. Endeavor to find out how they have been faring in the workplace and the challenges they have been facing. This will help you understand the factors that compromise their efficiency. You can then figure out ways that can increase your team’s productivity.

Remember, these one-on-one meetings are excellent for addressing the work-related concerns of your team. If you notice that one of your employees seems distracted or is unable to give his best at work, try to reach the root of the matter instead of dismissing his attitude as laziness.

Take Their Feedback

If you are really serious about building a rapport with your team, you have to realize it has to go both ways. While you share your pointers with your employees, give them a chance to share their side of the story too.

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Use One-On-One Meetings to Their Full Potential

full potential one-on-one meetings

There’s a lot you can achieve via these meetings. But only if you conduct them well! Make sure that you remain calm during the entire thing, even when you face a curveball. Don’t react harshly to any point made by your employees.

Always listen to what they have to say with an open mind. Don’t cut them in between and make an effort to understand where they are coming from. Of course, you have to share your critical feedback too, but don’t go overboard with it. Instead, try to select your words wisely.

About The Author


Tauseeq Magsi has been a writing geek for the past six years. He has written about Tech, Finance, Leadership, Business, and more. He loves helping others achieve their goals, and he hopes to continue helping people through his writing for many years to come. In addition to writing, Tauseeq Magsi loves to travel and learn new things.


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