Effective 1x1 Meetings with Your Boss


These precious nuggets of time with your boss can be tremendously valuable for your career! These meetings are one of the best ways to proactively show your boss the value you bring to their team and the value you bring to the company as a whole. And value is key!
So, how do we conduct an effective 1x1 meeting with your boss? Let’s check it out:

1. Schedule it. If you don’t have 1x1 meetings with your boss already scheduled, then set some up today. Let your boss know that you will be putting one on their calendar – and then schedule one on their calendar. Remind them of the value it will bring to both of you.
Bonus tip: If your boss be-bops into work in the morning in a great mood and a smile on their face, then have the meetings in the morning. If your boss drags in with dark circles under their eyes each morning, then definitely have the meetings in the afternoon. This way you are setting your meeting up for success – by picking the time that is best for your boss.

2. Opportunity. These are not just worthless meetings to get more face time with your boss. These are scheduled opportunities for you to develop your career. Use them wisely!

3. Be on time. Every minute counts. So, please do not waste a single minute.

4. Start with a salutation. Say hello. Use their name. Look them in the eye. Smile. Ask them how their day is going. Ease into the topics on your list. Do not come racing to the meeting in mid-sentence of something that’s been on your mind for the last 3 weeks – that can set the wrong first impression for the meeting.

5. Success story. Try to start the meeting with a success story – it can be a small or large story. What a great way to set the tone for the meeting! First impressions truly matter, even during seemingly mundane 1x1 meetings.

6. Know your boss’s style. Are they a numbers person? If so, quantify things. Are they a visual person? Then bring paper to draw charts/figures. Are they a multi-tasker? Then, send a follow-up email after the meeting to summarize the topics (in case they were sending emails or texts during your meeting).

7. Prioritize the items. Sometimes your boss might be pulled out of the meeting early. If so, make sure you have already gone over the toughest and most important items early in the meeting.

8. Make it easy for them. Bring a list of the things that you need to discuss with them. Show the items you have worked on since your last meeting and include new items to discuss.

9. Give background information. For any topics that are new to your boss, give them some background information, so they understand the context of the situation. It doesn’t have to be a thesis of background information, but just enough so they can follow along with the story without getting lost.

10. Provide solutions, not problems. Yeah, yeah. It’s cliché. But it’s true, my friends. Don’t just complain at these meetings (even though that is often the easiest thing to do). If there is a situation that needs to be solved, present the problem and then promptly present the proposed corresponding solutions. It is way easier for a boss to respond to suggestions, rather than expect them to come up with a solution on the spot. Additionally, your boss may disagree with your proposed solutions, but at least you have been able to demonstrate that you are being proactive and have a mind of your own!

11. Determine clear action items. Before you leave the meeting, make sure that each of you knows what the action items are for everyone – including the people not in the room. Distribute the action items after the meeting, if there is one for someone not in the meeting. Make sure there are clear deadlines for each action items.

12. Ask for feedback. Maybe every 3 rd or 4 th 1x1 meeting, ask “How am I doing?” – or – “Is there anything I can do better?” This shows that you are coachable and are trying to do your best. Bosses LOVE that. Some bosses will say you are doing great. However, please be prepared…they may give some criticism. Be open to it, since you have opened the door to it. Regardless, whatever they say, take it seriously and make strides to make the improvements they suggest.

13. Praise someone – maybe even yourself occasionally. Give a compliment to someone else for something they did well. Give some good news. You are showing that you are a leader who leads with respect and integrity.

14. Ask the most important question as you leave. “Is there anything else I can do to help?” This. This question leaves your boss knowing that you are a team member and are trying to make their job easier. So, you’ve started the meeting on a good note with a success story and left with your boss feeling confident in your collaboration skills.

Conducting effective 1x1 meetings while using these principles will impress your
boss, showcase your professionalism and the value you bring to the company,
keep you on the top of their mind when new opportunities arise and strengthen
this connection – for now and in the future.

Have a wonderful day, my friends and colleagues~