One-on-one meetings can be nerve-wracking, especially with your manager. What are you supposed to talk about? What kinds of questions should you ask?
But there’s no need to dread these meetings. If you approach them the right way, you can actually learn a lot. Think of your meetings as the perfect professional development opportunity.
So before your next meeting, read this article. We’ll show you five ways to make the most of the one-on-one time you spend with your boss.
1. Set an Agenda
To make good use of your time, plan ahead. Outline any questions or concerns you want to address before you sit down at the table.
If you know beforehand what you’re going to discuss, you won’t waste time fumbling through small talk or trying to think of things to talk about. It’s likely that you both have a lot to do, so your manager will be impressed by your efficient use of time.
It’ll be even better if you run the agenda by your boss first. Send them a brief email saying, “Hey, I was hoping that we might be able to discuss x during our meeting tomorrow.”
That way, they’ll know what to expect and can prepare answers to any questions you may have.
When you’re both on the same page, your session will be more productive.
2. Try to Connect on a Personal Level
You don’t always have to focus on work during your meetings.
Yes, we do realize that sounds like an oxymoron. But sometimes it’s okay to get to know your boss on a personal level, especially in a new job.
So, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about themselves. You might inquire about how they got into the industry, what they did before this job, or even about their family and hobbies.
Bonding with your boss can help you build a more productive relationship.
Obviously, it’s not always the right time for small talk. If your boss is very busy with a project, they might not want to field questions about their life outside work.
But during slow periods, don’t be afraid to engage in chit-chat before diving into work-related issues.
3. Focus on Your Successes (Not Your Problems)
If you want your interactions with your boss to be positive, you should talk about positive things. Try to bring them at least a few pieces of good news whenever you meet with them.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t address issues when they come up. If another employee is throwing a wrench in a project, your boss would probably want you to bring it up.
But you should discuss your successes as much as possible. Talk about the things that are going well in your department, and discuss how you plan to build upon them.
Every office has at least one or two employees who always want to talk about the bad news. Try not to be that person. If you regularly have optimistic and uplifting conversations with your manager, they’ll see you as a positive force within the office.
4. Ask a Lot of Questions
One-on-one meetings are the perfect time to ask questions. If you’re confused about anything in particular, now is the time to bring it up.
If you’re facing a particular challenge at work, ask for their advice. They may be able to help you find a solution.
If you’re stuck on how to move forward with an assignment, ask them. They may have struggled with the same problem before.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your boss’s job to provide leadership when you need it. They want to give you feedback and help you succeed.
5. Commit to the Next Steps
Most meetings end with some instructions on how to move forward. This might include a new goal to work toward or a new project to begin.
Make sure to take notes on these instructions during the meeting. When you leave, review your notes and determine a course of action.
One-on-one meetings with your boss can be very productive. They’re great opportunities to learn from someone who has more experience in your industry.
Make use of the time you spend together, and you’ll grow as an employee.
So before the meeting, set an agenda. During the session, discuss your successes and ask a lot of questions. Throughout the process, get to know your boss as a human being.
And, don’t limit yourself to the five tips I’ve outlined here. Continue thinking of your own ways to make the most of your one-on-one time.
Before you know it, you’ll master the art of meetings!
Angus Flynn is the Business Manager for 2500 Biscayne. With over five years of experience in the multifamily industry, he is one of the most dedicated managers in his field. He loves to help others and takes great pride in working in a community that so many love to call home.