6 Tips For Holding A Meaningful One-To-One Discussion

Often one to one meetings are rushed, delayed or postponed.  The need for a meeting can regularly be pushed to the bottom of the pile and priorities shift.  However, one to one’s are crucial to the sustainability of better employee engagement within any company.  Employees across all departments need to feel valued and be given the opportunity to reflect on their roles, environment and state of wellbeing in a setting that is confidential and inviting.

In a digitally evolving society, directive messages or performance feedback tend to be dispersed through electronic communication leading to stagnated engagement and unresponsive employees.  Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation emphasises on the important of one to one’s, advising that they ‘require a real cognitive agility [from Managers] and that the goal is to show their commitment to helping your colleague develop and grow’.

But how can you ensure a one to one is meaningful?

The number one reason people leave organisations is that they feel neglected and unappreciated by their immediate manager.  If you want to create a more meaningful and engaging one to one, the key is to create an environment that is open and transparent; allowing the employee to feel comfortable and at ease from the moment they walk through the door.

Instead of postponing yet another one to one, why not explore these six ways of keeping your employee engaged and the meeting at the top of your agenda.


  1. Time management: Workloads can ultimately become overwhelming and time often runs out to engage and feedback in long-overdue one to one’s with key members of your team.

TIP: Try isolating a time that is close to the opening of the day or to lunchtime as possible and keep the meeting day consistent.  You will soon get into a pattern to not book anything else in and offer employees opportunity to feedback coherently and in a timely manner; creating a better engaged and productive working environment.

2. Listen: Quite often one to ones can end into a broadcasting of messages instead of receptive conversation.

TIP: The key to any effective one to one is listening to what they have to say.  Give them opportunity to feedback but do not take over the conversation.  Be responsive yet immersive of what they have to say, encouraging them to go at their own pace.

3. Topic of conversation: A objective led one to one can give direction to what needs to be achieved, ascertaining the problem and creating a solution (if realistically achievable).

TIP: Create an agenda for the meeting with an opportunity for open discussion at the end.  This enables key objectives to be met but also offers the chance for the employee to engage and feedback openly and respectively.

4. Q&A: A one to one is only as effective as the parties who partake and if it is one sided then can often lead to frustrations and unresolved problems.  One to one’s offer the opportunity to gain credible insight quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

TIP: Try to include questions which encourage honest and transparent answers and avoid leading questions which can influence the final answer.

5. Note Taking: Note Taking is particularly important if there are objective led meetings or the meeting is case sensitive.  Keeping a record of what has been discussed creates physical opportunity to refer to and reflect on, particularly with busy workloads which can disjoint memories.

TIP: Reassure anonymity (if needed) and create bullet pointed notes which can be referred to at a later date.

6. Reflect and respond: On some occasions, questions may go unanswered or need further input from different bodies.  Taking notes will provide opportunity to reflect on what has been said and record unanswered questions, demonstrating credibility and illustrating attentivity.

TIP: Create a subsequent schedule of key questions that need following up with, ascertaining a deadline to ensure solutions are not missed or overlooked.  It is fundamental that these are followed up with and fed back to the individual where appropriate.

Become Communications help businesses get the best of their employees by focusing on the areas which really matter. If you would like help in leading and sustaining meaningful one to one’s, please call or email us today and we would love to work with you in creating a more engaged environment.

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