Leading Productive One-on-One Meetings
Illustration by Neil Webb

Leading Productive One-on-One Meetings

with Dave Crenshaw

Video: Establishing a schedule

After you've decided on a handful of people that you should meet with on a one-to-one basis, the next step is determining the schedule for these one-to-one meetings. There's no perfect answer to how often you should meet and how long the meeting should be. However, I can give you some rules of thumb based on my experience of working with companies of all shapes and sizes. The most common one-to-one meeting schedule is two times per month at 25 minutes per meeting. So, if you don't know where to begin, that's the place to start: two meetings per month, 25 minutes per meeting.

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Watch the Online Video Course Leading Productive One-on-One Meetings
25m 30s Beginner Dec 12, 2012

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Regular one-on-one meetings provide managers with an opportunity to head off problems and efficiently answer the many small, quick questions that arise during the workweek. In this course, Dave Crenshaw shows you how to establish a one-on-one meeting schedule and agenda, assign and review actions items, and assess the results of the meeting and follow up on promises. The course also explains how to effectively listen to employees' needs and when to offer training and development.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a one-on-one meeting
  • Running a one-on-one
  • Reviewing and closing action items
  • Reassessing the effectiveness of one-on-one meetings
Subject:
Business
Author:
Dave Crenshaw

Establishing a schedule

After you've decided on a handful of people that you should meet with on a one-to-one basis, the next step is determining the schedule for these one-to-one meetings. There's no perfect answer to how often you should meet and how long the meeting should be. However, I can give you some rules of thumb based on my experience of working with companies of all shapes and sizes. The most common one-to-one meeting schedule is two times per month at 25 minutes per meeting. So, if you don't know where to begin, that's the place to start: two meetings per month, 25 minutes per meeting.

However, that's just the baseline. Most of you will know what's more appropriate for the people on your one-to-one list. So, if you feel that meeting twice per month isn't enough, then schedule meetings more often. However, the more often you meet, the shorter the meetings should be. So, if I say that I need to meet with Faye every week, then I would probably want those meetings to be just 15 minutes. On the other hand, the less often I meet, the longer the meetings should be.

Let's say that I have someone else, maybe a top client that I only need to meet with once per month. Since I'll meet with them less often, the meetings should be longer, maybe up to 50 minutes. This is because there's been a lot of space between the meetings and we want to make sure we have plenty of time to discuss the various questions that we might have. Again, this discussion is not designed to give you a one-size-fits-all rule, but rather, give yourself a launching point. The good news is that once you get into the rhythm of having these meetings, they're very easy to keep.

This is because you'll have an established pattern on both of your calendars. I would encourage you that when you both schedule the one-to-one meetings on your calendars, schedule them as a recurring meeting with a pattern. Finally, one caution: if you don't stick to the schedule, if you consistently miss meetings, show up late, or have to move them around a lot, soon, they'll lose their effectiveness, and you'll revert back to the old pattern of having to answer and ask quick questions constantly throughout the day.

So, when choosing your date and time with the person put effort into setting a time that you'll both know you can keep and you'll stick to it.

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