Conducting One on One Meetings

leadership Mar 20, 2019

There are many different types of meetings you will likely experience during your tenure as a project manager. From online conference calls to presentations for stakeholders, being able to successfully navigate a meeting is a crucial skill needed for success. However – one very specific meeting format is particularly important for project managers, and often overlooked. While you may be a charismatic leader who keeps their employees laughing through your presentations or group meetings… are you putting the time and attention you need into your one-on-one meetings?

Whether you regularly conduct performance reviews or are responsible for addressing poor employee conduct, one on one meetings can be slightly awkward for individuals who feel uncomfortable in this more intimate setting. And, handling a sensitive situation poorly in a closed-door meeting can lead to alienating employees that you may be trying to bolster. So, what can you do to make sure that you are handling these interpersonal situations to the best of your ability? Before your next big one-on-one session, try implementing these suggestions to help you put your best foot forward.

  1. Make the meeting a priority. If you have something important to discuss with your employee or coworker, don’t put it off. Scheduling and rescheduling a sensitive meeting can lead to more stress for both of you and greater anxiety. Find a good time for both of you to meet and get it on the calendar. Avoid rescheduling if at all possible.
  2. Do your homework. Make sure that you and your employee are as prepared as possible before sitting down to go over anything of importance. If you are discussing a specific issue, make sure that you both have the ability to collect data and necessary records in advance, so you both feel confident about the interaction. If possible, send an agenda in advance.
  3. Listen. Whether you are consulting with someone about an issue or meeting with someone about a big raise, remember to slow down and listen to what they have to say. Be as inviting and open as possible, so they feel comfortable sharing their perspective. One-on-one meetings can be a great vessel for improving relationships and employee confidence, so try to make the most of this opportunity.
  4. Speak carefully. Right or wrong, your employees or teammates might put a lot of stock into the words and inflections you use during a private meeting. Make sure to be specific and use words that don’t leave people guessing. If you don’t have an answer for a specific question, make sure to have an action plan for providing that information as soon as possible. If you have a more forceful personality and are meeting with a more sensitive individual, keep that in mind to help they stay at ease.
  5. Avoid negativity. Even if you are meeting to help correct poor behavior, focus on the activities that need to be changed and not the individual as a whole. Most likely, a behavior is the culprit for any related issues- so make sure to focus in on the behavior and not the actual person. This will set them up for positive future changes.
  6. Leave with action items. During your discussion, it is likely that one of you will have some follow-up items needed if there is an expectation for changes to be made. Make sure that both of your come up with an action plan that can be implemented as soon as the meeting is over. Make your dated task list while there two of you are together, so there aren’t any issues left up in the air.
  7. Plan a follow-up. Whether your employee has expectations or you are looking for some changes, planning a follow-up to discuss progress can help you both achieve your goals. Put a date on the calendar while you are both together, so you can use it as a guiding force for the plan you have put in place.

One-on-one meetings might seem intimidating at first blush, but when conducted effectively, can become one of your most powerful tools as a PMP. A more intimate meeting setting allows you to take the temperature of employees, build their trust, and form a deeper connection. When used right, these meetings can be an opportunity to build a stronger and more committed team.

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