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Simple Guide: How Makers and Managers Alike Can Have Better 1:1’s

Simple Guide: How Makers and Managers Alike Can Have Better 1:1’s

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Let's face it, the dance of the one-on-one meeting can sometimes feel more like a clumsy shuffle than a graceful waltz.

As a maker or manager, you've likely found yourself stuck in a routine of unproductive, uninspiring meetings.

But what if there was a way to transform these interactions into powerful tools for collaboration, communication, and growth?

This guide is designed to equip you with the strategies and insights needed to elevate your 1:1's from time-sapping obligations to purposeful, productive exchanges.

By the end of this journey, you'll be left wondering how you ever managed without these newfound skills.

Stay tuned to find out how.

Key Takeaways

  • One-on-one meetings enhance professional relationships and productivity, making them crucial for personal and career growth discussions.
  • Scheduling and consistency are essential for effective one-on-one meetings, as they establish trust, maintain communication, and prioritize the right topics.
  • Avoiding cancellations and rescheduling unless necessary shows the value placed on the team's time and input, maintaining the rhythm and benefits of regular meetings.
  • Maximizing the effectiveness of one-on-one meetings involves mindful timing and content, using personal channels for trust and genuine human connection, and encouraging open discussions about career growth.

A Brief Guide to Better 1:1's—For Makers and Managers Alike

Whether you're a maker or a manager, consistently holding one-on-one meetings without making excuses like 'not much to discuss' can significantly enhance your professional relationships and productivity. It's crucial to prioritize these meetings, understanding that they serve a greater purpose than merely status updates.

Don't overlook the power of body language and personal connections in these settings. Engaging in open discussions, encouraging expressive body language, and promoting a relaxed atmosphere, can build productive and healthier manager and employee relationships.

Always ensure that you're prepared to run effective one-on-one meetings by focusing on the right topics. Avoid spending too much time on status updates; instead, center the conversation around personal and career growth discussions. This approach is particularly beneficial in growing companies where professional development is a key focus.

Schedule and Prioritize One-on-One Meetings

To make the most out of your one-on-one meetings, it's crucial to schedule them properly and prioritize the right topics for discussion. As managers, the responsibility often falls on you to set the schedule, so fight to not cancel these important appointments. If rescheduling is unavoidable, ensure it's for a valid reason.

Select personal channels for these meetings. In-person or video calls often work best, as they allow for more personal and meaningful communication. This helps to build stronger relationships and fosters a more open dialogue.

When it comes to prioritizing topics, focus on career growth, action and decision ownership, and critical issues at hand. Steer clear of lengthy status updates, instead, use this time for personal discussions. This approach not only saves time but also ensures that the meeting is effective and valuable.

And remember, one-on-one meetings are the perfect place to tackle difficult conversations. Emphasize the importance of these discussions and the return on investment they offer. These meetings are a critical tool in your management toolkit, so use them wisely. With proper scheduling and prioritization, they can provide immense benefits.

Consistency is Key: Make a Habit of Regular Meetings

Establishing a regular rhythm for your one-on-one meetings not only maintains trust and commitment but also cultivates a culture of open dialogue. Consistency is key here. You should avoid canceling or rescheduling these meetings without a good reason. This signals that you're genuinely invested in the process and reinforces their importance.

Regular meetings, when made a habit, form the backbone of a productive relationship. They provide a dedicated time and space for open discussions, which is crucial for team harmony and individual growth. Whether you're a maker or a manager, it's essential to make a habit of these meetings to keep the communication lines open.

Moreover, these one-on-one meetings should ideally be held through personal channels like in-person or video calls. This helps in building meaningful connections and facilitates effective communication. Remember, a good one-on-one meeting isn't just about ticking off items from a checklist. It's about building trust, addressing challenging topics, and fostering a culture of open communication.

Don't Cancel or Reschedule Unless Absolutely Necessary

Building on the idea of regular meetings, it's crucial you don't cancel or reschedule these sessions unless it's absolutely necessary. As a Manager, treating one on ones as a priority instills a sense of value in your team, reinforcing that their time and input matters.

There might be times when you feel there's not much to discuss, but don't fall into this trap. Even if the agenda seems light, maintaining the rhythm of these meetings is more beneficial than you might think. It's a platform for personal communication that can't be replicated in a group setting and allows for discussing career growth or challenging topics.

Sure, emergencies happen and you might have to reschedule occasionally. But do so only if there's a valid reason. Continual rescheduling can send a message that these meetings aren't important, which can be demotivating to your team.

Maximize the Effectiveness of One-on-One Meetings

In the realm of one-on-one meetings, maximizing effectiveness isn't just about what you say, but also how and when you communicate it. It's crucial to make your 1:1's count. To maximize the effectiveness of one-on-one meetings, you need to be mindful of timing and content.

As both makers and managers, it's important to resist the urge to cancel or reschedule. If you must, have a compelling reason. Your commitment to these meetings symbolizes the value you place on the individual and the relationship.

Use personal channels, like face-to-face or video calls for these meetings. This fosters trust and promotes genuine human connection. Discuss career growth openly. This can be job expectations, performance, or potential career pathways. It's not just about the nitty-gritty of daily tasks.

Make your meetings productive. Prepare around the right topics, utilizing visuals or mockups for effective communication. Minimize time spent on status updates; instead, delve deeper into more critical aspects. Encourage open discussions and provide an agenda for clarity.

As this brief guide shows, better 1:1's are possible. They're not just routine meetings, but opportunities for growth and relationship-building. Make them count.

Call Them One-on-One Meetings and Nothing Else

Don't underestimate the power of one-on-one meetings; they're more than just a catch-up, they're a commitment to open communication and personal growth. For both makers and managers, these meetings are critical tools for building robust relationships, resolving issues, and fostering professional development. So, call them one-on-one meetings and nothing else.

Each meeting is a precious opportunity for dialogue, so resist the urge to cancel. If rescheduling is necessary, have a good reason. Avoid excuses like 'not much to discuss', since they undermine the purpose of the meeting and can damage the relationship between you and your team members.

Choose the Most Personal Communication Channel

While maintaining consistency in scheduling your one-on-one meetings, it's equally crucial to choose the most personal communication channel to foster open and intimate dialogue. This choice is a reflection of your emotional intelligence, understanding that effective communication goes beyond mere words.

Choosing a personal channel demonstrates empathy and a desire to connect on a personal level. It allows direct reports to feel more comfortable and open, which, in turn, leads to more productive conversations. Remember, it's not just about what's said, but also about how it's said, and in this context, where it's said.

Try different channels until you find one that makes both parties comfortable. This could be a quiet corner in the office, a nearby cafe, or even a virtual platform if the team is remote. The purpose is to create an environment where honest discussions can take place, helping you and your direct reports build stronger bonds.

In this setting, you'll be better equipped to address challenging topics, discuss career growth, and ultimately, enhance the effectiveness of your one-on-one meetings.

Guard the Action-Per-Decision Ratio

Guarding your action-per-decision ratio in one-on-one meetings ensures you're not drowning in fruitless chatter, but instead, making impactful decisions that lead to tangible actions. This means focusing on quality discussions that truly matter. It's about making the most out of your time with your team members, minimizing unnecessary conversations that don't contribute to progress or improved employee performance.

Consider this, every time you make a decision in a meeting, it should ideally lead to an action. This action should be valuable, contributing to the overall productivity and impact of your team. It's not about the quantity of decisions you make, but the quality.

Every decision should be carefully considered, taking into account its potential impact and the actions it will instigate.

Build Strong Relationships and Foster Growth

Cultivating strong relationships and fostering growth in your team starts with consistent and effective one-on-one meetings. The aim is to build strong relationships and foster growth, and that requires you to spend more time with your team members, understanding their perspectives and work styles. It's not about ticking off boxes; it's about making sure each individual feels valued and understood.

In these meetings, don't hesitate to ask questions. Show genuine interest in their ideas and concerns. This won't only build trust but also give you valuable insights into how to support their growth. When they share, listen actively. This isn't the time for you to dominate the conversation, but to understand and guide.

Discuss Career Development Opportunities

In your one-on-one meetings, make it a priority to delve into your team members' long-term career goals and aspirations. This is a great opportunity to discuss career development opportunities within your organization. Show them you're invested in their growth by exploring potential new roles they could evolve into, and providing guidance on how to get there.

During these discussions, don't just focus on a potential new role, also consider the skills they'll need to develop. Look into trainings and opportunities within your company that could help them grow in their current position and prepare for the next.

Remember to align these career discussions with their performance review. This can be a constructive way to highlight areas they excel in and areas that require improvement. It's not just about climbing the corporate ladder, it's also about personal and professional development.

Lastly, don't forget the importance of team culture. Encourage them to contribute and shape the team culture. Their career growth isn't only beneficial to them, but it also strengthens the team as a whole. The better they perform, the more they can contribute to a positive and productive team culture.

Prepare Around the Right Topics

While focusing on career development opportunities, it's equally crucial to prepare for your one-on-one meetings around the right topics to ensure productive discussions. This is a key point in 'A Brief Guide to Better 1:1's—For Makers and Managers Alike.'

To prepare around the right topics, start by setting a clear meeting agenda. This helps you focus on issues that matter, avoiding unnecessary discussions. For instance, you can prioritize talking about fledgling ideas that need detailing over explanations that can be handled via email.

Next, bullet-point lists are your best friends. They cut down on circular talk and provide a clear path for the conversation. Visuals or mockups can further improve clarity, giving your discussions a solid foundation.

Asking questions is also crucial. Not only does it foster engagement, but it also helps you understand your team member's perspective better. Remember to ask open-ended questions that provoke thought and encourage open dialogue.

In the end, a well-prepared meeting agenda, focusing on the right topics, and encouraging discourse through questions will significantly improve your 1:1's. It's all about preparation, communication, and ensuring everyone's time is well spent.

Streamline Communication and Save Time

To streamline communication and save precious time in your one-on-one meetings, it's essential to maintain consistency, use personal channels, and focus on meaningful discussions rather than status updates. This approach is key to better 1:1's—for makers and managers alike.

As a good manager, it's crucial to fight the urge to cancel these sessions. Doing so not only keeps the lines of communication open but also sends a signal that you value your team member's time and input. Make time for these meetings and stick to the schedule.

Use personal channels for these discussions. This move ensures that the conversation is open, candid, and meaningful. It saves time by eliminating unnecessary formalities and promotes a relaxed environment where real issues can be addressed.

Reduce the time spent on status updates. Instead, shift the focus to personal discussions. Discuss career development proactively to save time in the future. Preparation also matters. Make sure you're covering the right topics during your meetings. By doing so, you streamline communication, making your one-on-ones more productive and time-efficient.

Reduce Time Spent on Status Updates

Shifting focus from the previous point, let's now consider how reducing time spent on status updates can make your 1:1 meetings more productive.

You see, status updates, while important, can eat up a significant portion of your meeting time. So, how can you reduce time spent on status updates?

Consider using weekly team meetings to cover this ground. This not only reduces time spent on updates during 1:1s, but also encourages a more communal sharing of information. It's a key aspect of effective Output Management. This approach allows you to allocate more 1:1 time to personal discussions, fostering a more meaningful connection with your team member.

Additionally, this shift in focus from status updates to personal discussions during 1:1s isn't just beneficial for relationship building. It also aligns with best practices regarding Privacy Policy. By minimizing discussion of potentially sensitive status updates in 1:1s, you're taking an extra step to ensure personal information is shared appropriately.

Handle Difficult Conversations with Confidence

Navigating the minefield of difficult conversations is a crucial skill you need to master in order to conduct effective 1:1 meetings. It's not easy, but it's vital.

To build trust, you need to handle difficult conversations with confidence. It's about being transparent yet respectful.

Start by setting the tone. Make sure the other person knows that this is a safe space where they can speak freely. Ask open-ended questions that invite them to share their thoughts and feelings. This isn't about interrogating them, it's about understanding them.

When giving feedback, be honest but tactful. No one likes to hear negative things about themselves, but if it's delivered in a constructive manner, it can lead to improvement. Frame the feedback in a way that focuses on actions, not personal traits.

Don't shy away from tough topics. Address them head-on but with empathy. Remember, the goal isn't to win an argument, it's to find a solution.

Handling difficult conversations with confidence is like walking a tightrope. It's a delicate balance between being direct and being considerate. But with practice, you'll get the hang of it. And the payoff—better, more productive 1:1 meetings—is definitely worth it.

Be Willing to Address Challenging Topics

Embracing challenging topics during your one-on-one meetings isn't just brave, it's necessary for fostering a transparent and trusting working relationship. Being willing to address challenging topics can seem daunting, but it's integral to the effective resolution of issues. Whether it's performance-related, conflict, or personal challenges, don't shy away from these discussions.

Create a safe space for open and honest communication. Use open-ended questions to encourage your team members to share their thoughts and concerns freely. This approach helps to dig deeper into issues that may otherwise remain unaddressed.

Active listening is also crucial. Listen attentively, respond thoughtfully, and use follow-up questions to ensure you fully understand their viewpoint. This will show them that their opinions are valued and taken seriously.

Addressing challenging topics not only resolves issues proactively but also builds trust. It fosters open communication, which is paramount to any productive working relationship. Remember, it's not just about the easy conversations, but also the tough ones.

Unlock the Benefits of Effective 1:1's

After courageously addressing those challenging topics in your one-on-one meetings, you're now primed to unlock the full potential and benefits of these crucial encounters. This brief guide to better 1:1's is designed for makers and managers alike, to improve the quality of these vital interactions.

To unlock the benefits of effective 1:1's, you must fight the urge to cancel or postpone these meetings. When you prioritize them, you're telling your team that they matter. You're building stronger relationships with your team when you keep these appointments and make them meaningful.

Next, label your one-on-one meetings as safe zones for open, honest discussions. This encourages personal channels of communication and trust. Make it a point to meet in person or via video calls. This allows you to read body language and ensure a human connection.

Remember to focus on the right topics, minimize status updates, and tackle tough conversations head-on. This approach makes your meetings more productive and impactful. And, own the decisions made in these meetings to ensure accountability and growth.

Discover the Return on Investment

Consider this: investing time in one-on-ones isn't just another task on your to-do list, it's a strategy that yields significant returns such as improved morale, trust, and productivity in your team. As a great manager, you'll soon discover the return on investment when you commit to these meetings. It's an important part of your role.

In the thick of busyness, it's easy to dismiss these sessions. But don't be fooled. Not only do they prevent costly fallout, but you also retain valuable contributors, saving you the high cost of turnover.

Take notes, hear your team out. It leads to better outcomes. You'll uncover insights that can drive enhanced performance and engagement. Your investment of time in one-on-ones isn't merely spent; it's an investment that pays dividends.

Dealing with fallout often requires even more time than investing in these meetings. It's about saving time and resources in the long run. Therefore, don't view one-on-ones as an additional burden. They're a strategic tool, a managerial must-have that yields substantial returns.

What Are Some Effective Ways for Makers and Managers to Improve 1:1 Meetings?

Effective ways for makers and managers to improve 1:1 meetings include setting clear agendas, actively listening, and promoting open communication. Additionally, using a useful knowledge base, metrics tracking system can help to identify areas for improvement and track progress over time.


With this guide, you've unlocked the secret to effective 1:1 meetings. You're now equipped to schedule, prioritize, and maximize these meetings.

You've learned to navigate tough conversations and understand the priceless value of regular, meaningful dialogues.

Embrace this newfound knowledge and transform your work life. Remember, your time is precious – don't waste it on ineffective meetings.

Start scheduling better 1:1's today and see the difference it makes in your productivity and relationships.