How To Make The Most Of One-On-One Meetings

Even in this age of hybrid work, the one-on-one meeting is ubiquitous at many startups and small companies (including here at CENTRL). And there’s a good reason to prioritize them on our calendars: the one-on-one is (still) the best way for managers and team members to connect on important issues, develop stronger relationships, and ensure that team members feel like they’re working toward their goals—both professional and personal. Here we’ll explore the importance of in-person one-on-one sessions for hybrid employees and their managers and why they remain essential for fostering strong working relationships.

The Power of In-Person

An in-person one-on-one is a dedicated time and space for open-ended conversation between a manager and an employee. Unlike status reports or planning meetings, one-on-ones are a place for coaching, mentorship, providing context, or even venting. The one-on-one goes beyond an open door policy and dedicates time on a regular cadence for teammates and leaders to connect and communicateIn the era of hybrid, in-person one-on-one meetings have emerged as a powerful solution to the communication challenges faced by employees and managers alike.

Tips for Holding Better One-on-One Meetings

Without a proper framework, agenda, and mindset, the one-on-one meeting can become just another meeting in your day. Here’s our game plan for making the one-on-one meeting your most important meeting, whether you’re a manager or employee.

Schedule Regularly: Set a consistent schedule for one-on-one meetings to ensure they remain a priority and are not easily skipped. To ensure you stick to a schedule, set aside 30 to 60 minutes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with each of your team members. Don’t feel confined to a conference room: suggest getting out of the office for a walk or grabbing a coffee.

Prepare an Agenda: Remember, one-on-ones can be about almost anything. Make a shared agenda to not only provide context prior to the meeting but allow both parties to take ownership of the meeting. Preparing for the meeting ahead of time allows you to eliminate spending time on peripheral matters and so you can immediately address the things that really matter. By setting a meeting agenda in advance, you also allow your employees to provide input. Always make sure to review the agenda (and input from your employees) ahead of time.

Listen More Than You Talk: Both parties should actively listen and engage in the conversation to maximize the benefits of in-person interaction. If you’re a manager, make sure your employees feel heard, safe, and empowered. Once you’ve fully heard them, help be a facilitator of solutions. Discover what they’re excited about, ways you can mentor them to be successful, and unlock them to do their best work.

Provide Constructive Feedback: Use these meetings to provide constructive criticism, recognize achievements, and set goals.Remember, good constructive feedback should focus on the work rather than being a personal negative attack against an individual.Employees respond better to constructive and positive feedback rather than negative feedback which can make them feel unappreciated and under-supported.

Keep It Flexible: One-on-one agendas should be collaborative. Managers should encourage direct reports to share what they would like to discuss. Common topics can include current goals, feedback, recognition, career aspirations, and more. It can be valuable to provide the tools to make it easy to have regular and valuable meetings week after week.


In-person one-on-one meetings are invaluable tools for hybrid employees and managers seeking to overcome the challenges of remote work while preserving the benefits of flexibility. By prioritizing these face-to-face interactions, organizations can foster stronger relationships, enhance communication, and ultimately drive productivity and success in the hybrid work era. While digital communication tools are essential, they should complement, not replace, the power of in-person connection. If you’re thinking about scheduling individual meetings with your team members, we offer a wide range of meeting rooms. Let us know how we can help!