Prepare for Your First 1-on-1

How to get all set-up and prepared for your next 1-on-1

Mikaela Friedrich avatar
Written by Mikaela Friedrich
Updated over a week ago

A one-on-one, is by definition, a meeting between two people - a manager and their direct report. It’s a dedicated time where employees can ask questions, receive coaching on their strengths and weaknesses, and provide feedback. It’s important to use these opportunities to foster positive relationships with your teammates. 

If this is the first time that you are partaking in 1-on-1, and are unsure with what to talk about - we have a lot of resources available on our blog to help you master the art of the 1-on-1.

In this article, we'll highlight some best practices and steps to take before your first 1-on-1:

1. Create a recurring calendar event in your Microsoft 365 or Google Calendar.

The first step to prepare for your 1-on-1 is to schedule it in your calendar! We recommend make the calendar event recurring on a biweekly or weekly basis.

The length of your 1-on-1 can vary from person to person, but keeping the length between 30 min to 60 min is usually a good place to start.

Pro Tip: You can also schedule these meetings directly in Fellow! No need to open up your Microsoft 365 or Google calendars. This will automatically link the meeting notes with the calendar event. You can also manually link the event to the Fellow note

2. Plan your meeting agenda

Starring at a blank meeting note can be intimidating, especially if this is your first 1-on-1. But you don't need to reinvent the wheel, the team at Fellow has created and compiled 1-on-1 meeting templates from management experts and industry leaders.

Browse the full template library on our website or in-app! To apply a template, all you need to do is click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the 1-on-1 note, select Apply a template .... Choose your template then click Apply.

3. Encourage your manager/direct report to add their discussion topics in advance of the meeting

Now that you've figured out the structure of the 1-on-1 it's time to add content! Add any talking points or bullets that you would like to discuss in this meeting.

On the right hand side of the meeting note in Fellow, you'll see suggested topics that you can add directly to your agenda.

If these is something that you know that you would like to discuss, but don't want the other person to see, feel free to add this into your private notes, located below the suggested topics.

4. Share the latest meeting agenda 24 hours before the meeting starts

Since both the direct report and the manager are adding content to the 1-on-1, it's useful to share the latest version of the agenda out 24 hours in advance. This ensures that both individuals have visibility into the agenda and the discussion topics that have been added.

In Fellow, click on the Send notes button in the top right corner of the note to share the notes via email. Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.

You can also set up a meeting automation so that notes are send via email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams 24 hours before the meeting is scheduled. This is a great way to remind participants to review, contribute to, and prepare for the upcoming meeting.

5. Write down any action items that come up during the meeting

During the meeting, write down any next steps that are discussed. This is a great way to ensure accountability for both the manager and direct report. You can also add due dates to ensure timely completion!

Click on the Action items tab at the top of the stream to get a full overview of incomplete action items from the full history of your 1-on-1. To enable this, click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner and open Stream Settings. Here you'll also have the option to add a tab for feedback, objectives, or another Fellow stream (shared or private).

Other tips

Star the meeting

Keep your home panel organized by creating groups and starring meetings/1-on-1s. This will make it easy to find the 1-on-1 that you are looking for - which should make preparing a whole lot easier!

Reorder items in the agenda

Experts emphasize that the 1-on-1 is the direct report's meeting and their talking points should come first. In Fellow, you can easily rearrange the agenda to ensure that the direct report's talking points are discussed first. To do this, just drag and drop the talking point.

Add tags for easy reading

Within your note, add tags to draw attention to certain parts of the agendas such as blockers, decisions that have been made, or just high-priority action items. This makes it easy to skim through past agendas and find what you are looking for!

Looking for more 1-on-1 content? Check out these resources on our website:

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