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3 Tips for Having One-on-One Meetings with Your Boss - Self Improvement

3 Tips for Having One-on-One Meetings with Your Boss


Meetings with your boss face to face is an important part of any job. It gives you a chance to hash out any concerns and share any wins you’ve had with your work. 

One-on-one meetings are about you, your work, and your career. So how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of them?

You’re about to find out!

This guide will show you how to make the most of those upcoming one-on-one meetings with your boss. With these tips, you’ll come away from it feeling satisfied.

1. Prepare an Agenda

An agenda will be your best friend heading into any one-on-one meeting. Being prepared means you don’t have to worry about wasting time while you try to come up with things to talk about.

You’ll be expected to lead the conversation here.

Any time you think of something you want to bring up, you should write it down. Keep a running list of everything that comes to mind, no matter how insignificant.

When it comes closer to the meeting, take out your list and choose the most important things to talk to your boss about. Some may have already been resolved, while others need to be brought to the table.

Keep Updates Short and Sweet

It’s expected for you to give updates on the projects you are working on, but that shouldn’t be the entire focus of the meeting. One-on-ones are supposed to be about you rather than your work.

When you’re deciding what updates to bring with you to the meeting, there are a few things to consider:

Is the update time-sensitive? It obviously can’t wait.

Would an email about this topic be a mile long? You’re better off explaining it in person. But, if there’s a way to send a short update outside of your meeting, do that instead.

Any updates you decide to give at the start of your meeting should be concise. That way, you can get them out of the way and keep the conversation moving.

Get Your Questions In

Now’s the perfect time to ask questions and get answers.

Think of this one-on-one meeting as a chance to brainstorm and solve some problems. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance if you’re stuck on something or want advice.

Present the problem and your proposed solution to get their feedback first hand.

It’s crucial not to miss the chance to talk something over, especially if one-on-one meetings don’t happen very often.

2. Put a Focus on Your Growth

It’s time to put the focus on you.

You should absolutely carve out time in your one-on-one meetings with your boss to speak about what you want in terms of your career. The only way you’ll be sure to get where you want to go is by bringing it up.

If what you’re talking about is important to you, encourage your boss to take notes. That way, at your next meeting, you won’t have to repeat the things you’ve already gone over.

Ask Questions on How You Can Grow

At this stage, feedback is your best friend.

Ask as many questions as you can about the steps you need to take to grow in your career. Your boss is the best person to learn from, considering they’re ahead of you in the game right now.

Get their opinions on your strengths and weaknesses. What do they think is valuable about you, and where do they think you can improve?

Make sure you discuss any new skills you need to learn in order to move up. Not only will they be able to advise you on your career path, but they might also be able to facilitate any training you need to achieve your goals.

Help them help you by jumping on any opportunity they offer you.

3.  Talk About Actions to Take

Before you close the meeting, say anything that needs to get done between this meeting and the next meeting out loud. 

It may seem like overkill, but it really is important to clarify the actions you should be taking. You want to make sure you’re both on the same page.

You need to know what’s expected of you, and so does your boss.

Think of it as preparing in advance for your next one-on-one session.

Schedule the Next Meeting

One last thing before you go:

Put your next one-on-one meeting on the calendar.

It’s essential that you do it now instead of trying to work it into your schedule a week before. You and your boss are busy people. If you wait, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the meeting when you’re supposed to.

Having the next meeting scheduled gives you a concrete timeline for getting all your tasks done.

If your boss needs to cancel for some reason, reschedule immediately. Putting it off can extend the waiting period even longer than you expect.

Ask in person and ask politely:

“I understand and I’d like to go ahead and pick a time that’s better for you.”

Then, you’ll still have your meeting time ready to go, even if it’s pushed back a week or so.

In Conclusion

Go into your next meeting confident that you’re not wasting anyone’s time. Preparation is the key to making the most of one-on-one meetings with your boss.

Know what you want and bring it to the table. You’ll come away with answers, guidance, and looking forward to the next meeting.

About the Author

Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at Escaya, a luxury apartment community in Chula Vista, CA.

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