One-on-one meetings offer an opportunity to delve into a topic in-depth with a single person, or to have a sensitive conversation that’s not appropriate for a larger audience. Like any meeting, however, a one on one meeting can devolve into a nonproductive social visit if both parties don’t pay attention to their work and one another.
Here’s how to run a productive one-on-one meeting:
Set an agenda before the meeting.
Before the meeting, touch base with the other person to ensure you both know what you plan to discuss. You don’t have to send out a formal agenda, but do note the time and summarize the purpose of the meeting: “My calendar says we’re meeting on Wednesday at 2:00 to discuss your compensation. Does that time and day still work for you?”
Take a few minutes to prepare.
Before the meeting starts, take a few minutes to clear your mind. Focus on the person you’re about to meet and the topic you plan to discuss. Review any notes or documentation that are relevant to the meeting.
Set a time limit – but don’t make it too short.
Without a time limit, even a one-on-one meeting can lose focus. A time limit helps both parties attend to the business at hand without neglecting other tasks or getting too caught up in socializing.
When setting a time limit, however, make sure it’s not too short. A slightly longer meeting helps ensure that both parties address all of the concerns they have surrounding the issue or topic at hand. When meetings are artificially short, participants may stick to surface issues instead of digging into the root of a problem.
Practice active listening techniques, such as allowing the other person to speak without interruption and summarizing what they have to say before you respond to it. For best results, choose a meeting space that maximizes your ability to listen to one another, like a quiet office.
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