Effective 1:1 meetings

Open communication in companies is the cornerstone for a healthy and effective everyday work life. Read here about the advantages of 1:1 meetings and how to hold them professionally.

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Meetings take up a large part of the work time and should therefore provide maximum value. Ineffective (or even non-existent) communication leads to frustration among staff as well as managers, causing problems in the long run. Productive meetings, on the other hand, significantly improve the work climate. Especially 1:1 meetings offer many advantages to both employers and employees.

They are, as the name suggests, meetings where the employee and the manager talk in private. They are the basis for a healthy working environment and offer managers the opportunity to get feedback from individual employees, getting to know and supporting them individually. Additionally, supervisors can offer the employee help with projects, show presence, check on the employee’s progress, praise them or express criticism. Employees have the opportunity to address problems or request support if necessary. Feedback may also come from the employee.

So how do you run impactful 1:1 meetings?


Prepare for the meeting! As an employer, you should develop an agenda that includes the key points. It serves as a guide and helps keeping the overview throughout the interview, so that all important points are addressed. Workers should consider beforehand what went well or not so well in the last few weeks and provide constructive suggestions for improvement. The interview should focus on the individual employee and address the subjects of concern to him or her.

1:1 meetings can be held weekly or once a month, depending on urgency and the size of the company. Usually planning 30-60 minutes for these exchanges is a good idea. Rather than skipping the conversation, shorten it if time is scarce. This will convey the feeling that the conversations are important and that the employer is happy to listen to his staff.

Here are some examples of what the conversation can focus on:

  • Praise and highlighting the performance
  • Identification of difficulties and problems
  • Possible solutions to these problems
  • Discussion of upcoming goals and projects; it is also important to establish a timeline here!
  • Planning of holidays and important events

During the meeting

Ideally, 1:1 meetings should provide an open atmosphere that makes employees feel comfortable. For this, it is necessary to create a foundation of trust that allows problems to be addressed frankly and without fear of consequences.

As an employer, one of the most important aspects is active listening. Give your staff the chance to express themselves. The share of the conversation time should be 80% with the employee and only 20% with the employer. A meeting does not necessarily have to take place in a conference room or office. Conversations can also be held during a meal or a walk. Especially if both parties tend to have a stressful routine, it is a good idea to resort to alternative locations. An employee review is also not an occasion for extensive small talk. Do not try to artificially fill the agreed time, but shorten the meeting when all the important points have been addressed. Not every discussion has the same duration. On the other hand, the time allotted may not be sufficient to cover particularly difficult topics. If possible, take the time to conclude the discussion so that both parties can leave the meeting with a good feeling. So plan a buffer to allow for potential delay.

1:1 meetings are not about data exchange, but about disclosing problems and finding solutions, for praise and criticism, for the discussion of upcoming goals and priorities.


1:1 meetings offer many advantages to both the employer and the employee and form the foundation for effective teamwork and a good office atmosphere. Proper preparation for these meetings is just as important as a structured set-up! Take your time for it!

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