In this article, we’ll list six of the best one on one meeting software solutions.
First, we prepare you to evaluate that list against your needs by looking at some high level considerations questions regarding structuring, planning for, carrying out, and documenting one on one meetings.
Among those considerations are:
We end the article with a bonus – we show you a fast, easy way to jump right into rapid, effective research into which solution fits your needs best.
One on one meetings are regularly scheduled, one to one meetings between a manager or executive and an employee or subordinate. They’re typically scheduled every week, every two weeks, or every month. Their purpose is open-ended and employee centered.
Their length is often short – ten to twenty thirty, usually, with the bulk of them running more toward the short end of that range.
Although in practice, specific lengths of time are allotted to one on one meetings, they should usually run shorter or longer, as needed. They are between only two individuals, so length is almost irrelevant, and it can be adjusted without too much disruption to too many people’s schedules. Adjusting the length as needed makes the point, for both participants, that it’s human-centered, not a rigid process. The length is naturally determined by immediate needs, issues, ideas, and contributions of the employee or subordinate.
A series of one on one meetings is highly effective for building personal relationships, because it’s explicitly employee-centered. One on one meetings aren’t focused on status updates, KPIs, or other strictly business-oriented goals or communications, That’s especially true in an age of virtual meetings.
These informal, supportive, friendly meetings lead to higher employee engagement, better collaboration, more innovation, fewer personal conflicts, and accelerated professional growth for the entire team.
One on one meetings aren’t only between managers and employees who report directly to them. They are held between:
Now let’s turn to the question of what one on one meetings are for.
One on one meetings are used for a wide variety of purposes, but not every one of these purposes will be your meetings’ purposes.
As you plan for one on one meetings, a “middle way” is the best: You should develop specific purposes for them, and be open to the list of purposes in this section. But it’s not a good idea to try to hit every purpose or force a specific purpose onto your meetings (even if it’s a purpose you both believed would apply).
One on one meetings are for …
This extensive but far from comprehensive list makes the point: one on one meetings are for almost any business, professional, or personal purpose under the sun.
(Note that one on one meetings are distinct from catch-up meetings with specific employees. Catch up meetings are quite literally for catching up. They’re not a series of regularly scheduled meetings.)
It’s just a regularly scheduled conversation between two human beings who are working together for common business goals.
Since one on one meetings are ultimately conversations, why formalize them at all?
Why not just have conversations as they occur naturally?
The answer of course is that what doesn’t get planned, rarely gets done. And what doesn’t get memorialized in meeting minutes or notes, usually is forgotten, no matter how good the results were, or how promising the ideas were.
So, in order to get the best results, how do you structure a one on one meeting?
And how do you run it?
To structure the agenda for a one on one meeting, a minimalist approach is best at first. You do want to ensure that you remember to include everything you planned to discuss. But at the same time, you need to maintain an informal process.
So, the agenda can include only a small, simple list of what you want to cover.
Extremely important is that the structuring list, which is the agenda, should be collaborative between the two participants in the meeting, so that it’s not a top-down conversation. Both parties should have input on the agenda.
Agendas for 1x1 meetings should be informed by past meetings, so that records of what was discussed, action items, and decisions are available, just as for any series of business meetings. This gives a sense of direction and accomplishment which is valuable for making the meetings productive.
Running a one on one meeting is a much more personal and flexible process than any other kind of business meeting. All the formality of other kinds of business meetings can and should be jettisoned, in favor of an informal tone which is relaxed, friendly, open, and focused.
It bears emphasizing that Informal does not mean unfocused or meandering. No one likes unfocused, meandering moments in any meeting, no matter the number of people involved. That’s especially true for regularly scheduled, recurring meetings. .
The one to one meeting should also be run in context with past meetings and future momentum.
Meetings should always feel like part of a series. When coming into a meeting, both participants must know what happened in the last meeting, what was planned, and who was accountable for what. Leaving a meeting, each participant should know what should happen going forward. Each meeting is a station along a journey toward goals and solutions that are discussed in the meetings.
If each meeting were a one-off, poorly planned, uncontextualized conversation about “whatever’s on your mind,” then your counterpart in the meeting would feel boredom and frustration.
Everyone likes to feel momentum, direction, accomplishment – and even accountability, because accountability means getting the credit for wins and progress.
For these reasons, it’s important to tie the meetings together over time, with a process that naturally generates agenda items from the last meeting’s minutes or action items.
The process of collaboratively creating the agenda broadly should:
Fellow empowers managers and team members to collaborate on meeting agendas, decide on and assign action items, and keep track of interactions and feedback over time by centralizing action items into one big personal to-do list. Fellow allows you to cross out discussion points as the meeting evolves, and you’re able to utilize the private notes section to record private thoughts and questions to follow up later.
It allows customization of templates for one on one meetings. It also provides suggested topics to ask in your next 1-on-1.
Fellow has 30+ integrations including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana, and Zapier.
Friday’s strength is asynchronous communication, and that’s suitable for creating one on one meeting agendas, and following up afterward with tasks or decisions from the meeting.
Friday allows you to see meetings, agendas, and tasks all in one place. You can also add your one on ones to routines, and align the meetings with larger business and personal and professional development goals.
Integrations include Slack, Teams, Github, and more.
Hypercontext enables easy creation and sharing of videos using a Chrome extension, and it’s also a great interface for 1:1 meetings. It allows teams to collaborate on agendas, share feedback, track and follow up with accountability, and even has over 500 conversation prompts. It has a “smart” suggestions feature that recommends topics not yet covered in the meeting, based on how much time has been spent and how many topics remain on the agenda.
15Five makes the list because it has a 1-on-1 feature designed right into it. It’s far down the list for the same reason, since in the real world 1-on-1 meetings often need more flexibility and breathing room. But depending on the situation, 15Five’s more rigid framework could be helpful for some people. 15Fives 1-on-1 feature is designed to help managers bring up issues and challenges at the right time, and to align team members on priorities and goals, to encourage productive activity.
Lattice is designed to bring performance reviews, performance management, employee engagement, employee feedback, and career development into one unified interface, with the goal of making teams more productive and creating better team relationships.
Lattice’s intent is to help companies and managers put people first, and to make 1 to 1 meetings among the most productive. Lattice has a “360 Degree Feedback” feature, along with an activity dashboard, integrated alerts and notifications, customizable templates, and more.
Like Lattice, Office Vibe brings together several team functions under one platform which is designed to rethink how companies set goals, and to be people-centric. Office Vibe’s values are to help you engage more deeply with team members, create more trust, and hear your team’s concerns and ideas directly, in a more human context.
Office Vibe gives team members a safe place for feedback and sharing thoughts and feelings via weekly 2 minute surveys that are quickly and easily answered. An embedded algorithm algorithm helps ensure survey questions are broad and inclusive enough to reflect a holistic employee experience. These weekly, real-time reports allow managers to consistently work on boosting employee engagement.
The information gleaned from Office Vibe, although it’s somewhat remote due to the nature of any survey, can be used to inform regular one on one meetings where personal, flexible conversations can occur.
When you choose software which allows you to carry on relaxed, structured, flexible conversations, the tone of all your one to one meetings will reflect that. It will be natural and open and productive.
When you choose a solution which is integrated into ongoing business processes and apps, you reduce a lot of friction and let your employees add a lot of value, as they will feel free to speak, and be free of technological roadblocks to conversation (hard-to-use interfaces, unsearchable meeting notes, for example.)
A fast, free, easy way to jump right into rapid, effective research into which solution fits your needs best is Fellow. (The first choice in the list above.)
As you research the best software for one on one meetings, managing the process with a free tool such as Fellow is critical. It’s completely free for up to 10 users, so you can collaborate with other stakeholders in the search. It allows you to keep all the research, discussions, and decisions in one place. Learn more.
Learn why we recommend task management software that centers meetings and makes meetings more productive, more innovative, and better at keeping team members informed, organized, and accountable.
What people management software is best for tracking OKRs? Find out here.