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1:1 Meeting Checklist: What To Do Before, During, and After

1:1 Meeting Checklist: What To Do Before, During, and After

In a recent study about 1:1 meetings, 250 direct reports were asked to rate their experience. Nearly half rated it as suboptimal.

According to researchers, this can happen when the leaders who host this type of meeting see them as a burden, hold them too infrequently, or manage them poorly. When this happens, leaders risk leaving their employees feeling disconnected, both functionally and emotionally.

However, the responsibility of making 1:1 meetings effective and worthwhile does not rest squarely on the shoulders of those hosting them. Employees, the ones attending 1:1 meetings, must also prepare, contribute, and engage fully with the meetings.

To support both parties, here are two 1:1 meeting checklists - one for employees and one for leaders - to follow before, during, and after the meeting.


Table of Contents


1:1 Meeting Checklist for Leaders

Hosting effective 1:1 meetings with your employees goes beyond just the time spent in the meeting itself. There are things that you as a leader need to do things before, during, and after to ensure the meeting objectives are met and that you both feel it was a valuable use of your time. To give you an idea of what those things are, here is a 1:1 checklist for you to use going forward until it becomes second nature.


Before the Meeting

  • Define the objectives of the meeting
  • Review the notes from your last 1:1 so you can follow up on any action items
  • Draft up an agenda (Use this one-on-one meeting agenda template, if you need help getting started)
  • Send your agenda at least 2 business days before your 1:1 and ask your employee if they have anything they want to add to it
  • Outline anything specific you need your employee to prepare, share, or research prior to the meeting (The more time you can give them, the better)
  • Write out a list of questions you want to ask your employee so you don’t forget


During the Meeting

  • Show up and end on time
  • Mute your phone and computer apps to minimize distractions so you can give your employee your undivided attention
  • If meeting virtually, agree to both turn on your cameras
  • Recognize achievements or milestones right at the start
  • Follow the 3 R’s one-on-one meeting template (Spend the first third of the meeting building reporting, the second third reviewing progress and the final third getting ready for the future)
  • Make a point to ask if your employee is experiencing any obstacles or if they have any concerns (If they do, don’t downplay or diminish what they’re saying; otherwise, they may not speak up again)
  • Be a good listener and give your employees the floor. You should speak less than they do and should be focused on listening to what they are and are not saying
  • Take notes, especially when your employee asks for something by a specific deadline or when they ask a question you cannot answer right then but promise to loop back with them on
  • Work together to define the meeting action items and set a timeline for them Recap accountabilities and expectations, as well as clarify things like timelines and tactics
  • End with words of encouragement or appreciation


After the Meeting

  • Send an email recapping the action items or decisions made during your 1:1 meeting
  • Keep your employee informed about the status of the things they asked you to review or approve
  • Provide answers to questions your employees ask during the meeting that you couldn’t answer at the time (If you’re still looking for answers, tell them that. It will be better than providing no update at all)
  • Send an invite or reminder for the date of your next 1:1 meeting

One-on-One Meeting Checklist for Leaders - Niagara Institute


Plan and host better 1:1's with the help of this editable One-on-One Meeting  Agenda Template >> 


1:1 Meeting Checklist for Employees

As an employee, 1:1 meetings with your boss can be nerve-wracking. What will they ask? Did you prepare enough? What if they ask you something you don’t know the answer to? To help alleviate some of that stress and anxiety and set you up for success, use this 1:1 meeting checklist for employees as it covers what you need to do before, during, and after the meeting.


Before the Meeting

  • Review the status of your KPIs, tasks, projects, and goals
  • Review your notes and action items from the previous meeting, and be ready to explain your progress
  • Write down a list of things you want to discuss, review, and ask
  • Ask your boss if you need to prepare, share, or research anything specific for the meeting
  • Prepare questions beforehand (Check out this list of 1:1 meeting questions to get an idea of the kinds of questions you can ask)
  • Gather any documents or links you need and keep them somewhere readily accessible If you need approval on anything, gather copies for your boss and present them in their preferred format (digital vs. printed)
  • Review the meeting agenda your boss sends you and tell them if you want any specific talking points added to it


During the Meeting

  • Show up prepared and on time
  • Mute your phone and computer apps in order to minimize any distractions
  • If meeting virtually, agree to both turn on your cameras
  • Be open and honest, but tactful and professional
  • Take notes of anything you agree to do, look into, or provide updates on
  • Ask your boss to clarify their expectations and directions, as needed


After the Meeting

  • Begin working on the action items you agreed to take responsibility for during the meeting
  • Provide any additional information or updates your boss asked for ASAP (If it’s going to take longer than expected, tell them that you’re working on it and will keep them posted)

One-on-One Meeting Checklist for Employees - Niagara Institute

One-on-One Meeting Agenda Template

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