The Ultimate One-on-One Meeting Guide (With Templates)

The Ultimate One-on-One Meeting Guide (With Templates)

Soorya Radhakrishnan
Soorya Radhakrishnan

Do you see employees suddenly falling off from the team—complaining about burnout, poor recognition, or even lack of support from superiors?

There’s a simple solution—one-on-one meetings.

This blog discusses everything you need to conduct a successful one-on-one meeting with your employee—from meeting cadence, templates to agendas, all in one place!

In case you’re about to attend a one-on-one meeting with the manager, we’ve got it covered too.

What is a 1-on-1 meeting, and why is it important?

1 on 1 meeting with manager

A one-on-one meeting is a private conversation between two people, usually between a manager and an employee or a mentor and a mentee. It provides the opportunity for open communication, feedback, goal setting, and relationship building.

These meetings are typically held at regular intervals (weekly or bi-weekly) and are important for several reasons:

  • Improve communication: This dedicated time helps ensure that communication channels are open and lays the ground for discussing important issues, providing feedback, and addressing concerns.
  • Enhance workplace experience: One-on-one meetings provide a platform where managers and employees can have candid conversations and show how they value each others’ work, opinions, and feelings. This can build trust, collaboration, and productivity in the workplace.
  • Identify development and growth opportunities: One-on-one meetings are a great opportunity to discuss career goals, review performance and identify areas of improvement. Constant support from superiors through these meetings helps employees feel more engaged in their work and motivated to achieve their goals.
  • Monitor Progress: Regular one-on-one meetings help managers keep track of their employee's progress toward their goals and provide an opportunity to make adjustments as and when needed to ensure that projects stay on track.
  • Building relationships: One-on-one meetings allow managers to establish rapport with their team, which in turn, improves communication, promotes teamwork, and enhances overall job satisfaction.

Now that we’ve discussed the what and why of one-on-one meetings, here’s how to ace the game of holding an effective one.

Did you know, an average individual has at least 5.6 1:1 meeting per week? (source)

Tips to ace the one on one meeting (with templates)

Regular meeting

One-on-one meetings are the most effective way to foster collaboration and constructive dialogue in the workplace. When done correctly, they can greatly improve employee morale and productivity.

Here are some rules and guidelines to create an effective one on one meeting with your teammate.

Let’s break it into two parts - one for the manager and the other for the employee.

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One-on-one meeting guidelines for managers

One on one meetings

Things to do before the meeting

1. Set a clear context

Is the idea of one-on-one meetings new for your team? If so (or not), send an invitation email to the employee mentioning the details of what, how, why, and when the meeting will be held.

By giving this ground, your employees understand the purpose and format of the meeting and come prepared. It also lets you set the expectations straight on what will be discussed–leaving no room for unwanted apprehensions.

Here’s an email template you can follow for sending the invite (first-timers’ guide):

Subject: One-on-One Meeting Invitation

Dear [Employee Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I’m interested in having a one-on-one meeting between us to discuss your progress, goals, and any other matters you wish to raise.

This meeting will be our first-ever one-on-one, and I believe it will be a great opportunity to establish a strong working relationship. During this meeting, we can discuss -

  • your current work and any challenges you are facing and 

  • set your personal and professional development goals for this [time period].

The meeting will take place on [Date] at [Time] in [Location]. I have allocated [Duration] for the meeting, but we can adjust the duration based on the needs. 

Please let me know if you need to reschedule or if there are any topics you would like to discuss during the meeting.

I encourage you to come prepared based on the agenda shared above. 

I look forward to our discussion.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

If you’re already conducting regular meetings with your teammates, here’s another email template you can follow for sending the next invite.

Subject: One-on-One Meeting Invitation

Dear [Employee Name],

I would like to set up a one-on-one meeting with you on [Date] at [Time] in [Location]. I have allocated [Duration] for the meeting, but we can adjust it based on our needs.

This connect intends to -

  • review your work, set expectations, and explore opportunities for further growth and development, 

  • discuss any challenges you may be facing, and 

  • for me to provide feedback and support.

Please let me know if you need to reschedule or if there are any specific topics you would like to discuss.

To make the most of our time together, I encourage you to come prepared based on the agenda shared above.

I look forward to our conversation.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

2. Set a regular schedule

One on one meeting template

Instead of picking a random slot, set a regular, convenient time and schedule in advance with the other person. Here are some things to check before setting a regular schedule -

  • Availability: Check your and your employee’s schedule to find and finalize a mutually convenient time. Also, consider upcoming events, holidays, or other commitments that may impact availability, and look out for options on those dates if needed.
  • Frequency: Decide how often you would like to hold one-on-one meetings with the employee. Depending on the employee's needs and the nature of their work, you may want to meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  • Duration: Decide how long each meeting should last. Consider how much time is needed to discuss progress, feedback, and goals while allowing for productive and focused conversations.
  • Agenda: Determine the topics to cover during the one-on-one meetings. Consider the employee's goals, any challenges they are facing, and any other topics that may be relevant to their work.
  • Communication: Consider how you will communicate with the employee about the one-on-one meetings. Decide how you will remind the employee about upcoming meetings and how they can request a reschedule if needed.
  • Feedback: It is important to gather feedback about one-on-one meetings. This may involve asking the employee for feedback after each meeting or periodically checking in to ensure these sessions are helpful and productive.

Once you decide on the above elements, you can schedule a recurring meeting using any available calendar management tools.

Need more guidance on calendar management? Check out: Calendar management tips here!

3. Prepare and share the meeting agenda (including goals) in advance

meeting agenda

Prepare a meeting agenda with the topics you want to discuss, questions to ask, and goals to achieve during the meeting. Encourage the other person to bring their agenda items as well.

This way, you can ensure that the meeting is productive, efficient, and focused on the most important issues for both parties.

How to Create an Online meeting Agenda
Having an agenda can reduce meeting time by up to 80%. Here’s how to create an online meeting agenda that puts more time back into your day.

Once the preparations are done, you can move on to the next step—meeting.

Things to do during the meeting

1. Establish rapport

Start the meeting with small talk to help build rapport. This helps create a positive, productive, and engaging environment where your employee feels comfortable sharing their ideas and working towards common goals.

Here’s a conversation template you can follow:

"Hi [Employee Name], how are you doing today? I hope you had a good weekend.

Before we jump into our agenda, I wanted to check in with you and see how things are going.

I'm really interested in hearing your thoughts on how things have been going so far and what we can do to support you.

To share a bit about myself, I'm passionate about [shared interest] and love [related activity].

How about you? Do you have any hobbies that you're passionate about?

I'm here to support you in any way I can and want to make sure that you feel comfortable and supported in your role."

2. Provide feedback, recognition, and appreciation

Provide specific and actionable feedback on the individual's performance since the last meeting, including areas for improvement and recognition of achievements.

A one-on-one meeting can also be a platform to recognize and appreciate the employee's hard work and contributions. As a manager, you should express appreciation and recognize the employee's achievements, which eventually motivates and engages them.

Read: How to write year-end reviews

3. Address concerns

Address any concerns or issues the individual may be facing and provide support and guidance on resolving them.

This way, you can improve employee satisfaction, identify and solve problems early, build trust, and increase productivity.

4. Discuss career development

Discuss the individual's career development goals and provide support and guidance on achieving them.

This can promote engagement, retention, skills development, improved performance, and succession planning.

5. Listen actively and encourage participation

Pay complete attention to the other person during the meeting and be open to their feedback and ideas. It shows employees that you value their opinions and creates a safe and supportive workspace.

Things to do after the meeting

1. Send minutes or meeting notes

As soon as the meeting is over, share the notes or meeting minutes with the employee to ensure everyone is on the same page, promote accountability, and provide a valuable record for future reference.

💡 Fireflies Tip

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2. Follow up for feedback and action items

Follow up on action items and feedback provided in the meeting, and provide support and guidance to ensure the individual achieves their goals.

Here’s a template email you can follow to collect feedback from your employee after the one-on-one meeting:

Dear [Employee Name],

Following up to get feedback on our recent one-on-one meeting on [date] at [time].

Your feedback will ensure our one-on-one meetings are as productive and beneficial as possible. Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What did you find most useful about our recent one-on-one meeting?

  • Is there anything you felt was missing that you would like to see in future connects?

  • Do you have any suggestions that can help improve our one-on-one meetings to support your growth and development better?

If you have any additional feedback or concerns that you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

By following these steps, you can confirm that the meeting stays focused, productive, and beneficial for you and your team member.

Also, check out: 10 best one on one meeting tools to increase your productivity

One-on-one meeting guidelines for employees

One on one meeting agenda

Are you an employee about to attend a one-on-one meeting with your manager? Following are a few guidelines to ensure the meeting is worth your time (as well as theirs):

For ease, let’s divide it into three parts - before, during, and after the meeting.

But first things first, if your manager does not hold any one-on-one meetings currently and you would like to have one, here’s a template email you can use:

Dear [Manager's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out to request a one-on-one meeting with you to discuss my progress, share my goals, and receive feedback.

I value your guidance and insights, and a regular one-on-one meeting can help me improve my performance and ensure I am aligned with our team's goals and priorities.

I am available on [days/times] and would be happy to work around your schedule to find a convenient time for us. Do let me know your availability and any topics you would like me to prepare for the meeting.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to our meeting and the opportunity to discuss my progress and plans.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Now that you’ve requested and confirmed the meeting, here are the rules to follow

Things to do before the meeting

1. Confirm your availability

Even when it’s a recurring event, confirm your availability for the meeting each time and block your calendar.

By letting the manager know you are available at the scheduled time, you can ensure that the meeting can proceed as planned.

2. Share your agenda

As you send the confirmation response, make sure to share and confirm your agenda for the meeting as well along with it. This can help ensure that you make the most of the meeting time and don't skip any important points.

Here’s a template you can use:

Subject: Meeting Confirmation - [Meeting Date and Time]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

This is to confirm our meeting on [Meeting Date] at [Meeting Time] at [Meeting Location]. I look forward to discussing [meeting topic or agenda items].

Along with those, I’d also like to cover the following topics during the meeting:

  • [Agenda item 1]

  • [Agenda item 2]

  • [Agenda item 3]

If any changes or conflicts arise, I’m open to rescheduling.

I look forward to our discussion.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

3. Review the previous meeting notes

If you’ve already had a one-on-one meeting with the manager, you should review any notes or action items from the previous ones. This can help identify any outstanding items and ensure you have a clear sense of what progress has been made so far.

4. Bring any necessary materials

If there are any documents or other materials you would like to refer to during the meeting, double-check you have them along before the meeting. This can include performance data, project reports, or other relevant information.

Here is a checklist of items you should have handy during a 1-on-1 meeting with the manager:

  • Agenda: Keep a copy of the agenda with yourself to ensure that you cover everything you want to discuss within the scheduled time.
  • Notes from previous meetings: Carry relevant notes or action items from your previous one-on-one meetings. This can help you follow up on any outstanding items.
  • Performance metrics: If the meeting focuses on your performance, ensure that you have the relevant performance metrics or data handy. This can include reports on your progress toward goals, customer feedback, or any other data that is relevant to your performance.
  • Project updates: Keep relevant updates or materials of your ongoing projects handy. It can be project plans, status reports, client feedback, etc.
  • Questions or concerns: Prepare and keep in hand the set of questions or concerns you want to address in the meeting.

Things to do during the meeting

1. Be open and honest

one on one meeting template

Go to the meeting with an open and honest mindset for a productive discussion.

2. Share updates

One-on-one meetings are an excellent platform for you to provide updates and progress on the projects you are working on with your manager. Also, share any successes or challenges you have experienced since the last meeting.

3. Give and take feedback

Instead of waiting for them to initiate on the topic, ask the manager for feedback on your performance. You should be open to constructive criticism and take notes on any feedback you receive.

Also, share suggestions on how your manager can further support you in attaining your goals. For starters, you may say, “I’d like you to get more assistance from you on [topic].”

Overall, you can use the time to strengthen your relationship with the manager while making tremendous progress on your goals.

4. Take and share meeting notes

During the meeting, take clear notes on any action items or follow-up items you or your manager need to address. This way, you won't forget important points and follow through on any commitments you or your manager make during the meeting.

You can use ai note-taking apps like Fireflies to ease this process.

How to Invite the Fireflies AI Notetaker to Your Meetings
Read this guide to understand various ways to invite the Fireflies AI notetaker to your meetings. Join settings | Calendar Invites | Add to Live.

Things to do after the meeting

1. Review the meeting notes and evaluate the progress

Once the meeting is over, take a few minutes to evaluate whether you achieved the goals. This can help you assess the effectiveness of the meeting and identify any follow-up actions that may be necessary.

2. Follow up and complete any action items

There could be some tasks that are assigned to your manager. Along with completing your goals, continue following up on those assigned to your manager.

One-on-one meeting template

Meeting agenda

Step 1 - Opening (5 minutes)

  • Start by welcoming the other person and thanking them for taking the time to meet.

  • Ask if there's anything specific they'd like to discuss or if there are any updates they'd like to share.

Step 2 - Progress Review (10-15 minutes)

  • Discuss the progress and challenges of any goals or projects you're working on together.

  • Ask if there are any areas where the other person needs additional support or resources to succeed.

  • Provide feedback on their performance and offer suggestions for improvement.

Step 3 - Development Opportunities (10-15 minutes)

  • Discuss any opportunities for growth and development, such as training, mentorship, or new projects.

  • Ask the other person what skills they would like to develop or what they'd like to learn more about.

  • Brainstorm ways to support their growth and help them achieve their goals.

Step 4 - Communication (10 minutes)

  • Discuss how communication is working between the two of you and identify the areas that need improvement.

  • Ask if the other person has feedback on how you could communicate better.

  • Identify any potential miscommunications or misunderstandings and work to resolve them.

Step 5 - Action Items and Next Steps (5 minutes)

  • Summarize any action items or decisions made during the meeting.

  • Set a timeline and follow-up date for any outstanding tasks.

  • End the meeting positively and thank the other person for their time and contributions.

Of course, you can adjust this template to fit your needs and relationship with the other person. Remember, a one-on-one meeting is only successful if conversations are open and honest, benefiting both parties.

Of course, you can adjust this template to fit your needs and relationship with the other person. Remember, a one-on-one meeting is only successful if conversations are open and honest, benefiting both parties.

Topics to talk about in your one-on-one

One on one meeting questions

Finding the right topics to discuss in your one-on-one meeting can be difficult. But it's essential for making the conversation meaningful and achieving the intended outcomes.

Here are some common topics that you can discuss in a one-on-one meeting:

  • Project progress and updates
  • Performance feedback and coaching
  • Career development and growth opportunities
  • Workload management and prioritization
  • Training and skill development
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Work-life balance and well-being
  • Team dynamics and relationship building
  • Personal or professional challenges
  • Feedback on company culture or processes

These topics are just a starting point, and you may want to tailor them to the specific needs of the individual and the situation.

Also, read: Skip level meeting questions for managers and employees

Final thoughts

Effective one-on-one meetings are essential to workplace communication. Managers and employees can better understand each other and create a stronger team by discussing key topics like goals, challenges, and successes.

Remember, one-on-one meetings are the chicken soup of productivity - they could become the ultimate cure to burnout fever and performance stagnancy in your team. So, keep calm and meet on!

Read Next:

10 One-on-One Meeting Tools To Boost Productivity
Maximize meeting productivity with the top 10 one-on-one meeting tools, and transform them into a dynamic and outcome-driven experience.

Try Fireflies for free