Meetings play a crucial role in team productivity and cohesion. They can drive collaboration, and improve communication and decision-making within teams. However, they can also feel like a waste of time if not conducted effectively.

According to the Harvard Business Review managers spend nearly 23 hours a week in meetings, up from less than 10 hours in the 1960s. Out of 182 senior managers interviewed, 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient, 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work, and 62% feel they miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

Given the vast amount of time spent in meetings and the frustrations expressed by managers about their effectiveness, it’s clear we need a better strategy. This leads us into the power of 1-on-1 meetings, which can turn these challenges into opportunities to connect and grow.

Let’s dive into how effective 1-on-1s can make meetings valuable again, improving life at work for both managers and their teams.

The Power of 1:1 Meetings

When conducted effectively, 1-on-1 meetings give managers a real sense of how team members are doing, help guide their growth, sort out any issues, and bring everyone closer together. For employees, these meetings are a chance to get the ongoing feedback they need to grow in their roles. They provide a private space to voice concerns and share successes, building a strong connection between managers and their teams.

Overall, these meetings are key for keeping everyone aligned and motivated. But what exactly happens in a one-on-one? It's a regular check-in where a manager and an employee can discuss everything from goals and feedback to personal development. The main aim is to keep communication flowing, make sure everyone is on the same track, and tackle any issues head-on. To make your next one-on-one as productive as possible, here are some best practices to follow:

🔁 Set these meetings in person or online, weekly or bi-weekly, customizing the frequency as needed for different team members.

✅ Create a collaborative meeting agenda. Use Candor to co-create 1-on-1 agendas where both sides add discussion points and keep track of topics.

✏️ Do any necessary preparation to make sure the meeting time is used efficiently.

🧭  Start on time and keep the meeting within 30-45 minutes to cover all topics thoroughly.

🤝 Keep it personal. Cover work as well as personal updates.

🎙 Engage in two-way communication. Ask insightful questions and listen actively.

It’s Template Time!

Here’s a simple agenda template to help you get started:

1:1 Meeting Agenda Template

Weekly or bi-weekly | 30-45 min

  1. Check-in (5 min)
    • Opening: How are you feeling? Be personal here. Make room for the other person to share updates about personal life and make sure this is a two-sided conversation. This will help break the ice and make room for honesty moving forward.
    • Team Member Individual Updates: last week’s progress updates, learnings, and priorities for the present week
  2. Goals (15 min)
    • Review agenda, set priorities, and goals for the week
    • FLUP on any pending projects and tasks, including owner and deadline
    • Offer guidance - any challenges you’re facing? anything blocking you from doing your best work? How can I support you this week?
    • Note: consider giving feedback about specific projects or tasks in the moment. Give examples of what behaviors you liked and what needs improvement.
  3. Feedback and collaboration (5 min)
    • Do you have any feedback for me?
    • Anything confusing lately or something that needs clearing up?
    • How can we continue to improve the way our team works together?
    • Note: ensure that feedback is flowing in both directions. Provide both constructive and positive feedback and encourage them to do the same for you.
  4. Development and Growth (5 min)
    • How are you feeling about your career goals? How can I support? Potential steps and actions to achieve these goals
    • Any resource or support would be helpful to you? A conference, course, mentorship?

💡 Pro tip: Monthly or quarterly run a 1-on-1 focused on each one of you team members’ development and growth. Go deeper on recent achievements and milestones, challenges they’re facing, opportunities for growth, and set a plan for the next quarter.

Create easy, async 1:1 agendas with Candor

Connect better and never lose track of your 1:1 with Candor. Pair with anyone on your team to co-create an agenda async—choose from a variety of topics from our library or customize your own agenda items in preparation for your meeting. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Start a new 1-on-1 mission and select the teammate you’ll pair with, as well as your meeting cadence and time.

Step 2. Get a recurring reminder 2 days before your meeting to review your shared agenda and make any updates in preparation.

Step 3. Check off items you discuss together, and any items that aren’t covered will automatically be moved to your next agenda. No fuss!

Step 4. Keep track of all 1-on-1s by visiting your dashboard.

That’s a Wrap!

Meetings can be a great way to get everyone on the same page and get things done, but only if they're conducted properly. Crafting the right agendas is key to a productive meeting for both sides. Candor 1-on-1 agendas are easy to use and collaborative, allowing everyone in the team to create and keep track of ongoing discussion items.

Make the most out of your 1-on-1s. Sign up for Candor today!

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