Mastering One-on-One Meetings: 10 Tips for Success

One-on-One Meeting

One-on-One Meeting

Are you tired of feeling lost and disconnected from your manager at work? Do you struggle to get the support and guidance you need to succeed in your role? If so, it might be time to take control of the situation and master the art of one-on-one meetings.

These face-to-face conversations can be a powerful way to connect with your manager and get answers to the questions that are holding back your career. A one-on-one meeting allows you to build a strong working relationship with your manager, set clear goals and expectations, and identify areas for improvement.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, when managers neglect regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports, employee disengagement quadruples, and employees are twice as likely to view leadership negatively. As a matter of fact, uSamp Research’s survey on behalf of RingCentral found that 97% of employees believe effective communication is crucial to their daily tasks.

But let’s be honest – not all one-on-one meetings are effective. Some are a complete waste of time, leaving you frustrated and unfulfilled, while others leave you feeling motivated and empowered.

So, how do you ensure that your one-on-one meetings are as effective as possible?

Whether you’re a newbie or are an experienced professional looking to advance, these tips will help you make the most of your one-on-one meetings and get the support and guidance necessary for success.

How to Have Effective One-on-One Meetings with Your Manager

One-on-one meetings are just as important for employees as they are for managers. Managers who schedule meetings with their direct reports can learn more about what’s happening in the team, build stronger relationships with their staff, and ensure everyone is on track to meet goals and deadlines.

But for employees, one-on-one meetings are an opportunity to get much-needed support and guidance. When managers meet with their team members individually, they can provide feedback, answer questions about projects or work styles, and make sure everyone feels supported and valued.

Unfortunately, one-on-one meetings can be time-consuming and challenging, especially if an organization has many employees. Below are how to make the most of your one-on-one sessions with a manager.

1. Don’t Let Them Cancel. Ask to Reschedule

Effective one-on-one meetings require both parties to show up ready to discuss specific topics. When a manager tries to cancel a one-on-one meeting, ask them to reschedule it for later rather than cancel it altogether.

Scheduling one-on-one meetings in advance using a tool like Google Calendar can help prevent cancellations. This is because both parties can see the meeting arrangements on their respective calendars and plan around them.

Alternatively, consider using Airgram to create a meeting agenda and share it with the manager beforehand. This allows everyone enough time to prepare for the meeting—and keep things on track when they veer off course.

2. Avoid Status Updates

One-on-one meetings with a manager should focus on more than employees giving updates on their current tasks and projects. While it’s essential to update a manager on your progress, there are other channels for providing status updates, such as weekly team meetings or email updates.

In these meetings, the manager wants more than just a list of the completed tasks. They want to know how employees approach projects, what challenges they are facing, and how they can help support their efforts.

These meetings are an excellent opportunity to discuss topics that may not come up in other sessions. Focus on discussing deeper issues, such as career goals, areas for improvement, and ways to make work more efficient.

3. Bring Things You Want to Talk About

One-on-one meetings are an excellent opportunity to discuss your issues or concerns with a manager. Whether it’s a problem at work, a goal you want to achieve, or a skill you want to develop, bring up these topics during the meetings.

The one-on-one meeting guide by Airgram is a great resource to help employees prepare for these meetings.

This guide has a step-by-step process that walks employees through what they need to do before, during, and after the meeting.

It also includes sample questions employees can ask managers during the meeting, such as “What are your expectations for me in the next quarter?” and “What resources do I have available to achieve my goals?” Using this guide can help position employees for success.

4. Make an Agenda for Your One-on-One Meeting

Having a clear agenda for one-on-one meetings can keep you focused and on track during the session. It also helps everyone prepare for the discussion by knowing what topics will be covered and when. A good agenda should cover the following key areas:

  • Scope of work
  • Timeline/deliverables
  • Risks/challenges
  • Next steps

To create an effective one-on-one meeting agenda, consider using one of the one-on-one meeting templates by Airgram. Depending on the meeting agenda templates, these tools include a variety of topics and questions to guide the discussions, such as “What are your career goals?” and “What are your current priorities?” A one-on-one meeting template will help both parties focus on what’s important and prevent the conversation from wandering.

5. Talk About Your Career Goals

One-on-one meetings with managers are an excellent opportunity to discuss career goals and aspirations. Whether the goal is to advance in your current role, learn new skills, or explore new career paths, bring up these topics during one-on-one meetings.

A manager can provide resources, such as training or mentorship, to help employees grow and develop in their careers. Additionally, they can offer advice or guidance on how employees can achieve their goals and progress in their careers.

6. Encourage Your Manager to Take Notes

Effective communication is crucial for successful one-on-one meetings with a manager. One way to facilitate this communication is by encouraging a manager to take notes during the session. This can help them remember important points and action items and provide a reference for future discussions.

To make note-taking easier for the manager, consider using Airgram. Airgram provides a simple and intuitive interface for taking notes during meetings, including the ability to highlight key points and add action items. Managers can then remember and refer back to important points, making it easier to follow up and ensure that one-on-one meetings are as productive as possible.

7. Make It Actionable

One-on-one meetings with managers should result in tangible outcomes and actionable items. Making meetings goal-oriented helps you to achieve your objectives and make real progress.

With Airgram, you can highlight key points, add action items during meetings, and follow up on important tasks. Additionally, the meeting recording and transcription feature by Airgram allows employees to review meetings and action items at their convenience.

By making one-on-one meetings more productive and actionable with Airgram, employees can get more done in less time while maintaining a high level of accountability.

8. Think About Your Manager’s Perspective

Communication is a two-way street. While you should express your concerns and goals during one-on-one meetings, it’s also good to consider your manager’s perspective.

Employees can align their goals more effectively with the company once they understand the priorities and needs of their heads.

To better understand a manager’s perspective, consider reviewing the meeting recording and transcription using Airgram. This can help you view the points from their perspective and identify any misunderstandings or miscommunications.

Additionally, employees can build stronger relationships with their managers by actively seeking feedback. In some cases, this may mean asking for more specific goals from managers and clarity on what they expect.

9. Foster Open and Honest Communication

Effective one-on-one meetings with managers rely on open and honest communication. You can build trust and establish a stronger working relationship by being candid and transparent with your manager. This helps ensure that both parties are on the same page and understand each other.

For example, if an employee has questions about their performance, it’s better to be upfront with a manager than to assume they already know what’s happening. Employees can reduce potential challenges and prevent miscommunication by being candid about any issue or concern during one-on-one meetings.

To foster open and honest communication, create a safe and supportive working environment. This can involve setting ground rules, such as respecting each other’s time, avoiding interruptions, and creating a comfortable space for conversation.

Additionally, nonverbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact, body posture, and actively listening, can help facilitate better communication between managers and employees.

10. Follow Up on Action Items

The end product of a one-on-one meeting is actionable items or tasks you need to do moving forward.

This can include a project you need to complete, a conversation that needs to happen with another team member, or a new skill you need to develop. A tool like Airgram can help capture these action items, making them easy to reference later.

This can benefit an organization working with remote employees, as they can access the recording and transcription feature regardless of their location.

Active follow-up also helps managers learn more about their employee’s strengths and weaknesses. They can use this information to identify areas where they need to provide training and support.

How to Make the Most of One-on-One Meetings With Your Manager

One-on-one meetings are an excellent opportunity to ask questions, give feedback, and discuss career goals. But without a plan, these conversations can quickly become a waste of time. Here are some tips on how to make the most of this valuable resource:

Manage Up

“Managing up,” or communicating successfully with supervisors and executives, is vital to career development.

So, how do employees manage up? It’s not always easy, but employees can do a few things to improve their relationship with the manager.

  • Come prepared with ideas and suggestions to help a manager achieve their goals.
  • Share progress and accomplishments, highlighting how your work contributes to the team’s success.
  • Ask the right questions and listen attentively to what your manager says. If there’s a problem, speak up early and often—but do so respectfully.
  • Communicate any challenges or obstacles you’re facing, and offer potential solutions for addressing them.
  • Show appreciation and support for the manager’s efforts and successes.

Managing up allows employees to develop stronger relationships with their managers, improve their performance and career trajectory, and ultimately increase their ability to achieve success in the workplace.

Build Rapport

One-on-one meetings with your manager are an opportunity to build a strong working relationship. When employees develop a good rapport with their manager, they can improve their ability to manage their work, handle professional challenges, and foster respect and honest communication.

To build rapport with a manager, consider the following one-on-one with manager tips:

  • Show genuine interest in their work and goals.
  • Demonstrate your understanding of their perspective and needs.
  • Share personal details or anecdotes to help build a connection.
  • Be open and transparent with your thoughts and feelings.

Building rapport with your manager can create a stronger working relationship and establish a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

Have Regular One-on-One Meetings

Regular one-on-one meetings facilitate consistent communication allowing you to stay on track and achieve your goals. It will also help you promptly address any issues or concerns and receive the support needed.

To make the most of regular one-on-one meetings, consider the following tips:

  • Schedule one-on-one meetings at regular intervals, such as weekly or monthly.
  • Come prepared with an agenda and any issues or concerns you want to discuss.
  • Use the time to set clear goals and expectations and identify areas for improvement.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to receive feedback and coaching from your manager.

Seek Feedback and Be Open to Constructive Criticism

Actively seeking feedback and being open to constructive criticism allows employees to identify areas for improvement and take steps to grow and develop in their careers.

To get the most out of these meetings, employees should consider asking the manager for feedback on their performance and areas for improvement.

They should also be open and receptive to suggestions and ask for clarification where necessary.

Additionally, Airgram’s meeting recording and transcription feature can help them review their performance and identify areas for improvement.

Take Advantage of Resources and Support

Be it training, mentorship, or additional resources, take advantage of any support a manager offers during the one-on-one meeting.

To make the most of the resources and support available to you, consider the following tips:

  • Communicate your needs and goals to your manager.
  • Ask for specific resources or support to help you succeed in your role.
  • Take advantage of any training or development opportunities your manager or organization offers.
  • Seek mentors or other resources within your organization to help you grow and develop your career.

By taking advantage of the resources and support available, employees can set themselves up for success and achieve their career goals.


One-on-one meetings with a manager are a crucial recipe for workplace success. Following these tips and making the most of a one-on-one meeting, employees can establish a strong working relationship with their manager, set clear goals and expectations, and receive valuable feedback and coaching.

These meetings can also help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement while providing a space for open and honest communication about their career goals and development. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by – use them to your advantage and watch your career thrive.