One-on-one meetings are a great way to build relationships between managers and their team members, address workplace issues, and keep employees engaged. These kinds of meetings are suitable for a range of personal topics, from how an employee is feeling at work, to what their career goals are, to providing feedback about challenges and how they might behave differently in the future.
Not all one-on-one’s follow exactly the same agenda template. They can vary based on the roles and relationships of both parties, as well as whether the team member is remote, and how often the one-on-one meeting is occurring, whether that be weekly, monthly, and so forth. Below are sample one-on-one meeting agendas for you to use depending on what is most appropriate in your circumstance. For more tips on having great one-on-one’s, also check out the FAQ at the bottom of this page or visit our whole library which includes 80+ agenda template examples. 👇
How are both of you feeling at work? Anything new? Anything exciting planned? Take some time to catch up with each other.
Have any issues or challenges come up since the last one-on-one? How can we help?
What have we accomplished since our last meeting? What valuable lessons were learned?
What are the most important things we'll focus on going forward? Are there any new objectives? How do these fit into the short-term and long-term goals?
What steps must be taken to make progress on our goals? List them here as well as who is responsible for what. Set clear expectations and timelines.
What was mentioned that should be noted and deferred? Is there anything either party would like to discuss during the next one-on-one?
Is there any other noteworthy feedback? How can we help each other be more successful?
How will we keep in touch and stay up-to-date about progress? Should we schedule another one-on-one?
Ask your team member about the highlight of their week (this doesn't need to be restricted to work; anything will do)
Have your teammate create an update prior to the meeting. The update should:
Try to keep to a few minutes for each issue and not get bogged down in minutiae. For clear asks, give an immediate response or create a follow-up task. Otherwise, we recommend helping people come to their own conclusions, it'll foster a sense of healthy independence.
Prompt your report to create topics prior to the meeting.
Preferably whatever they come up with should be related to their OKR's. Jot down the three tasks in your project management system, set the owner, and the due date for the next one-on-one.
Be extremely candid and clear with your critical feedback, leave no room for interpretation. Make sure to give both positive and negative feedback.
This seals any commitments and parts of the meeting with a good note.
Set expectations and align on near-term priorities for the week ahead.
Where are we in relation to our goals/plan? Reiterate top priorities to reinforce focus.
Review recent successes or failures to guide future work.
How is x, y, and/or z task going? Offer guidance on work in progress.
Review new, relevant information.
Outline the objectives of the session.
Review actions and learning from or since the last session (if applicable).
What questions or issues keep coming up? Figure out what to do to avoid—or mitigate the impact of—persistent issues.
What do you need to do to continue growing and discovering? i.e. developing skills, changing your approach, etc.
What can we do to make these sessions more valuable? Provide feedback both ways, mentee to mentor and mentor to mentee.
When is our next one-on-one check-in? Summarize any action items arising from the one-on-one.
Where do you see your career going in the short/long-term?
Where do the organization’s mandates most closely align with your career goals? Discuss how [the direct report’s] job function fits into organizational goals.
Brainstorm measurable, meaningful short and long-term career goals
Brainstorm measurable, meaningful short and long-term goals to create stepping stones towards achieving specific organizational mandates.
Do we need solo time to build on this? Should we review our goals again? When will we connect again to measure progress?
Start with an open-ended question. What has got you excited at work?
How is _____ going? Discuss long-term initiatives.
Tell me about some recent successes? (AND/OR) What projects have we wrapped up successfully recently? Highlight shorter term wins.
What have you learned over the past 1 - 3 months? Highlight learnings.
What is slowing you down, making your job less enjoyable, or preventing you from achieving your career goals? How can we fix that?
Plan to remove specific roadblocks and create action items.
How can we improve our working relationship? What could I (the manager) do better?
Open discussion. What’s been keeping you up at night? What do you want more of?
Wrap up and follow up. When’s our next one-on-one?
Start with an open-ended question. How was last week? What’s been working well for you lately?
What have we accomplished since our last meeting? Note progress on important initiatives.
How can we be better? Highlight lessons learned from the previous week.
What (if anything) is stopping—or slowing down—your progress? How can we remove that roadblock? What support do you need?
Plan to remove specific roadblocks and create action items.
How are we doing? How can we work together more effectively?
Provide time for open discussion. Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Should we schedule another one-on-one? Review any action items arising from the one-on-one.
Start with a light, open-ended question. What’s been keeping you busy?
What milestones have we hit since our last check-in? Note progress on important initiatives and emphasize takeaways.
What’s stopping you from being more productive? How can management help you be more productive?
Plan to remove specific inefficiencies or roadblocks. Create action items.
What are we doing well? What can we do better? Discuss ways to create value for manager, employee, and the organization.
Provide space for open discussion. What’s got you excited? Worried? Annoyed?
When is our next one-on-one check-in? Summarize any action items arising from the one-on-one.
A skip one-on-one meeting is a meeting with managers or senior leaders in the company with those who are in junior positions. It is important not to have the meeting with a direct report in order to get honest and accurate feedback. To be truly effective you must create an environment in which the employee feels comfortable. Ideally, the manager should have a relationship with the individual being interviewed. Remember these sessions are about listening and learning from different perspectives in the organizations.
Managers should come armed with questions about the business based on data they’ve reviewed in advance — both qualitative and quantitative.
Here are some questions you might want to ask in your one-on-ones:
Whether your next customer meeting is your first or 15th with that client, you need an agenda. To build an agenda, you focus should be on answer these three questions:
How to specifically structure your agenda may vary based on your customer, but our library of 80+ meeting agenda examples should give you a good starting point.
As you get your meeting started, you want to grab everyone’s attention, set expectations, and then launch right into it!
As you wrap up your customer meeting, you should revisit any action items you’ve noted during the meeting and affirm that you’re on top of things. This is a good time to note who will be responsible for what, and when the customer can expect an update.
Then, end on a positive note, showing enthusiasm for your partnership and thanking your customer for their time.
Relax and smile
You may be stressed in an attempt to get started on the right foot. Don’t let that impact your body language (even on video conferencing).
Offer something of value for free
In addition to any materials in your welcome package, set the stage for a strong relationship by making an offer. This could be a resource, like a research or an ebook, or it could be to set up a training or consultation. It could even be minor, like providing advice based on the customer and your experience with other customers like them. Whatever it is, find a way to show your client that you’re deeply invested in their success.
Listen more than you speak
You may have landed this client, but you still have a lot to learn about their expectations, goals, and priorities. Ask a lot of questions, and listen actively. Even if you think you already know the answers, being a good listener will help build rapport, and you never know—you may learn something incredibly valuable after all.
Be specific about what you offer and how you can help
A common pitfall in initial client meetings is to be overly general. Instead, now is the time to be specific. What exactly will you do together? Who, how much, how often, measured in what way?
As a matter of fact, we do. This short, downloadable guide walks you through running a customer meeting that both strengthens customer relationships and improves company wide collaboration.
Get your free download: The Art of the Customer Meeting.
How to run your design meeting will depend a lot on what kind of design meeting it is. Is this a sync up between just a PM (or other product owner) and the designer? Is it a weekly meeting for the design team? A critique? Or is it a cross-functional meeting, with many stakeholders present?
Each of these types of meetings requires a slightly different approach. What is common between them, is a need to be upfront and clear about what the goals of the meeting are (and what they aren’t).
For example, here are some typical examples of design meetings:
Successful design projects usually need involvement from other stakeholders, but too much meddling can throw a wrench in the design process. As a general rule (that can sometimes be broken), input from non-designers is the most helpful at the beginning and end of a design process.
Early in the project, in the research phase, non-designers can be incredibly helpful. They can clarify how a design will be used, describe customer needs, and reveal requirements that might not be obvious about how the design should be used. If designers have experimented with multiple approaches to a problem, it can be useful to share these sketches early on.
Once the design specifications are clear, however, it’s often a good idea to let designers and project people iterate through the problem in a small team with minimal distraction. It’s during this time that small details can become a distraction for non-designers.
When a design is nearly complete, it’s once again helpful to invite key stakeholders to make sure the design is successful, and get buy-in before more resources are invested in making the design come to life.
Consider what can be removed from your agenda… and your invite list
Possibly the most common complaint about team meetings is that they are a waste of time. So the first step toward having a good team meeting is asking yourself whether everything on your agenda needs to be part of the meeting, and whether everyone needs to be there. By keeping a tight agenda and a smaller group, you’re sending a signal that people’s time is important.
Share your agenda in advance
Speaking of agendas, be prepared. Share your agenda in advance, so that the rest of the team know what will be discussed. This way, they can prepare their thoughts, and the meeting will run smoothly. If you surprise people with topics, those parts of a meeting can take longer.
Let other people talk
Many leaders and executives make the mistake of thinking that if they are running a meeting, they need to talk the whole time. Instead of Presenting on a topic for 30 or 60 minutes, structure your meeting so that others participate and even take the spotlight.
For a more in-depth structure to follow, check out Vital Meetings, the free guide to having shorter, fewer, and better meetings.
With executive time being so valuable, it’s important that exec meetings focus not on information sharing, but rather on discussion that leads to decision-making.
One strategy that works here, is to use action-oriented agendas. For example, instead of an agenda item called, “Priorities for next quarter” make a bold statement on your agenda: “Decide on top 3 priorities for next quarter.” This leaves no wiggle room for failing to meet the goal of the meeting.
If you take a look inside a manager’s calendar, it’s not uncommon to see 50-90% of their time blocked off in meetings. At first glance, this seems to make sense. If your primary function is leadership, should you spend the majority of your time with others? However, this kind of distribution often doesn’t leave enough time for strategic thinking and planning.
If you’re attending lots of meetings out of a need to stay in the loop, a better approach is to ask your team to take notes on important meetings, and share them with you (and other relevant stakeholders). A meeting management platform like Hugo can help, and many managers whose teams use Hugo report spending 20-50% less time in meetings because they can rely on skimming notes for less important meetings instead.
HR (human resources) is responsible for supporting recruitment, hiring, training, and managing. HR professionals meet with job applicants and current workers to support these goals in a variety of meetings, ranging from job interviews, to trainings, to one-on-one coaching sessions.
If your behavior at work is in the process of being addressed, you may need to meet with HR. This can be a stressful situation, but ultimately, if you handle yourself professionally, you should be able to come out of the meeting in good shape (and keep your job).
Here are a key tips to keep in mind:
Invite necessary decision-makers, but don’t cast too wide of a net. Since marketing often involves or impacts a lot of departments, it can be tempting to invite a lot of people to some marketing meetings. Instead, try to pair it down. If someone is being invited to the meeting only as an FYI, send them meeting notes instead.
The best meetings involve the whole room, not just one or two presenters. Here are a few ways to encourage more engagement:
Team meetings are among the most common and most important meetings in any workplace. Agendas for these types of meetings range wildly, but all topics usually fall into one of these categories:
One-on-one meetings have many benefits:
It’s good for the employee to feel ownership of their one-on-one because the meeting is primarily for their benefit. So, rather than having a manager set the agenda every time, the majority of the agenda should be driven by the employee. Of course, there should still be opportunities for managers to lead the conversation, especially when it comes to topics like coaching and performance. Using a meeting notes app that allows for easy, collaborative agendas can help.
Yes. The word one-on-one is always hyphenated, regardless of whether it is used as a noun, adjective, and adverb.
Writing all three hyphenated words out as one-on-one can be tedious. For brevity in your calendar invites, try using: "1:1" or "Name <> Name."