A one-on-one meeting with your employer may be useful for performance reviews, brainstorming sessions or project planning. These kinds of meetings can help you learn valuable feedback that might allow you to succeed in your role and strengthen your relationship with your manager. You can also use these meetings as an opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable insight into your employing business and industry.
This article discusses the importance of preparing for one-on-one meetings with your boss and provides tips to help you succeed in your next check-in with your manager.
Benefits of preparing for one-on-one meetings with your boss
Preparing for one-on-one meetings with your manager provides the following benefits:
More valuable meetings: By preparing for your meeting, you can derive more value from it. For instance, when meeting with your employer to define your goals, you can get right to the purpose of your meeting by bringing a list of goals.
Make better connections: Meeting with your employer is your chance to build a better relationship with them. Coming to your meeting with smart questions and talking points can help you develop a stronger connection.
Show your abilities: Coming to your meeting prepared shows your employer that you’re a competent, motivated employee. This may improve your chances of them considering you for job advancement opportunities, such as a raise or promotion.
Tips for one-on-one meetings with your boss
Use these tips when preparing for your next one-on-one meeting with your employer:
Understand the purpose
Before meeting with your employer, make sure you fully understand the purpose of your meeting. Ask what you need to bring or prepare for this meeting. For instance, if you’re meeting for a performance review, prepare by creating a list of goals or concerns you want to discuss with your employer. By understanding what the meeting might involve, you can arrive prepared and ready to start.
Know your goals
When meeting to discuss your goals, reflect on what’s important to you before your meeting. When setting goals, think through the SMART method. This means that all of your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Following this structure can help you create goals that are the right balance of ambitious and realistic. When preparing goals to discuss, be ready to share ways your employer can help you reach them. For instance, consider sharing what resources or materials might aid you in your development.
Discuss your concerns
Your one-on-one meeting is the perfect time to express any concerns. Now that you finally have your employer’s undivided attention, you can discuss any ongoing situations or potential issues that you’ve noticed. Rather than simply presenting a problem to your employee, consider some feasible solutions. Along with showing that you have excellent problem-solving skills, this is your opportunity to communicate each idea with your employer. Use this as a chance to agree on a solution and then make a plan of action.
Conduct your research
One way to prepare for a meeting with your employer is to conduct plenty of research. Along with coming to a project or brainstorming session well-informed, conducting research shows your employer that you can take initiative. When doing research, make sure you are using reputable resources. Rather than basing your claim on opinions, try to find objective sources. Consider looking at a topic from multiple angles to ensure you are exploring different ideas and viewpoints.
Be flexible to change
Remember, your manager may be busy with all kinds of projects and tasks at once. It’s possible that they reschedule your one-on-one meeting several times before you actually meet. When your employer asks to reschedule, hold them accountable for your meeting but stay adaptable. If they seemed to forget about your meeting, politely remind them when you’re meeting and why. While they may have a busy schedule, it’s also important you are getting the support and attention you need from them.
Bring a notepad
While taking notes during any meeting is important, it’s especially valuable when talking to your employer. Taking notes shows them you want to remember what they say. It’s also useful when your meeting concludes and you want to discuss your major talking points. When you and your manager have an especially long meeting, consider offering to type up meeting notes to share with them. This can help you ensure you both understand the main points of the meeting and shows your employer you were attentive during the discussion.
Ask important questions
Asking follow-up questions throughout your one-on-one meeting shows your employer that you are listening. Along with using questions to respond to your employer, come up with a list of questions that you can ask before your meeting. Think of things that can help your employer expand upon your performance or a particular project. Inquire about what you can do to help. Essentially, use your questions to show you care about the goals established in the meeting.
Share what value you can add
Whenever you’re discussing your performance or a specific project with your employer, try to prove you have the right skills and experience to add value to your team. Think of specific ways you can help. Share what particular tasks you want to work on and why you’re the right person for them. Show your employer you are an actionable employee and prove you’re happy to put in extra effort to help the company.
Provide supplementary materials
When coming to a meeting, consider bringing along supplementary materials to look over with your employer. For instance, if you want to share an idea with them, consider building a visual presentation to show them. Consider printing different charts, infographics and articles to share with them.