Employee

How to prepare one-on-one meeting with manager

Introduction

So your manager has scheduled a one-on-one meeting with you, or you are thinking to initiate a one-on-one meeting with your manager. In any case, this guide will give you a complete overview of a one-on-one meeting and how to prepare them.

What are one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meetings are recurring private meeting held between your manager and you. The meetings help you to build a good working relationship and receive continuous support from your manager.

The frequency and duration of the meetings depend on the nature of the work. A typical setup is 30 minutes weekly or 1 hour biweekly. It depends on how frequently you need to meet up with your manager. You can discuss the schedule and logistics with your manager at the first meeting.

Since the meetings aim to support you, you’ll need to think about what kind of support you need from your manager. If you’re new to the job, you might want more coaching from your manager regarding priorities, issues, and challenges. If you’re looking for a promotion, you might want more feedback and your managers help on career planning. We’ve prepared a short topics list for you later in the section.

Why one-on-one meetings are important for employees

Imagine being left alone on an island to survive. For many people, that is how they felt in their job. They receive no support and struggle at work, there is nobody for help, and many of them left because of the disappointing experience.

One-on-one meetings are the perfect time for you to receive support from your manager. You can share about challenging issues that you are facing. Your manager can help and coach you, or at the very least, they know beforehand if it prevents you from hitting your goals.

It is important for managers to have visibility on your progress, so start sharing your progress, and ask questions to understand the bigger picture. This ensures you are working on the right track, and there are times when your manager can point you in a better direction.

You can also use the time to ask questions and share constructive feedback with your manager. It allows them to optimize the environment to let you better at work. It is also vital for you to ask about performance, and if your manager has any feedback for you.

If you’re aspiring to take on a more significant role, you can also leverage the one-on-one to get better support from your manager. Start sharing about your career goal and discuss the practical plan to take on this goal with your manager. More often than not, your manager will be able to provide pointers and scout opportunities for you

Before the meeting

Take time to prepare the topics

Is there anything you want to ask or discuss with your manager? This is a good time for you to obtain crucial information for you to do well in work. You might also take the time to understand your performance and what could you have done better.

Here we come up with a shortlist for you to quickly think about what to talk about. You’ll not be able to fit all these in one meeting, do pick the most important ones and spread the rest into future meetings.

Progress

  • What have you been working on recently?
  • What are the wins? What didn’t go well?
  • What are the issues or obstacles?
  • Where do you need more help?
  • Is there anything that you want to discuss with your manager?
  • Is there anything you need approval for?

Goals & Priorities

  • What are you going to do next?
  • Are you working on the correct priority?
  • What are the team priorities?
  • Is there anything you’re unclear about the company, teams, or projects?

Performance & Feedback

  • How is your recent performance?
  • Does your manager have any feedback for you?
  • Where could you do better?
  • Is there any feedback you’d like to share with your manager?

Learning & Career Development

  • Do you have any career goal that you’d like your manager to know?
  • How could you receive support from your manager to advance your goals?
  • What’ve you been learning recently?

Update your meeting document

After you’ve decided what to bring up to your manager. You’ll want to write down your updates on the meeting document. If your manager hasn’t prepared a shared document, you can create a shared document for you both to keep track of the discussions. A simple Google Doc can do the job very well, depending on your company you can use any tool you are comfortable with.

You’ll want to save the meeting time for important discussions. Therefore, for informative updates such as goals, priorities and progress, you can write it down in the document to allow your manager to read through before the meeting.

Finally, write down your questions and topics to discuss in this one-on-one, then send it to your manager. This gives your manager time to read through the document and prepare for your questions.

During the meeting

Keep note of important points and drive action items

It can feel good to have a great conversation or vent out some of your issues. But without actually committing to actions, the feeling fades away quickly and issues resurface soon. When discussing, it is important to also discuss what are the possible course of actions and decide on the immediate next step.

As you come across the important decisions and action items, write them down immediately. This helps you to recall them later in the meeting, and also to check your understanding with your manager. This applies to both your manager’s action items and yours.

Conclude the meeting

At the end of the meeting, take some time to check with your manager if you’ve got the decisions and action items right. You can then write the agreed decisions and actions items on the shared document to keep track of it.

Then, at the next meeting, you’ll want to update the status of the action items in the shared document. This allows you both to keep each other updated on the various topics you’ve discussed in the meeting.


You’ll be able to ease a lot of burdens from your manager if you follow the steps we lay out in this guide, and we’re sure they will appreciate it. We wish you to have healthy and productive one-on-one meetings with your manager.

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