One-on-One Meetings: The Secret to Success at Work

Do you feel like your workplace dynamics could use some rejuvenation? Dive into the unexplored benefits of 1 on 1 meetings and discover why they are so essential for enhancing communication, building relationships, and boosting productivity.


James Moffatt


December 29, 2023

In the modern workplace, the importance of effective communication and collaboration cannot be overstated. One often underestimated tool that can significantly enhance these aspects is the 1 on 1 meeting, or "1:1s". These meetings, when conducted properly, can be a powerhouse of productivity and a catalyst for both employee and organizational growth. Let’s delve into the multifaceted benefits of 1:1s and understand what makes them an essential feature in today's workplace.

Fostering Rapport and Trust

The cornerstone of any successful work relationship is trust and rapport, and 1:1s provide the perfect setting to build these crucial elements. Regularly scheduled 1:1s between a manager and their direct report create an environment where open communication is encouraged. These meetings are more than just a business meeting; they are an opportunity to understand each other's work style, share information, and develop a personal connection that transcends typical work-related conversations.

For a new employee, 1:1s play a pivotal role in the onboarding process. They help in setting the right tone for the employee experience, giving the new team member a sense of belonging and understanding of the team dynamics. For the manager, it's a chance to uncover the career goals and aspirations of the employee, paving the way for tailored career growth support.

Enhancing Meeting Management and Productivity

Effective meeting management is critical to ensure that 1:1s are more than just a scheduled meeting. A well-prepared meeting agenda, possibly using a customizable agenda template, keeps the discussion focused and productive. Both the manager and the direct report should have the opportunity to add topics to the agenda, ensuring that all pertinent points are discussed.

Incorporating an action item approach into the meeting agenda helps in maintaining clarity on the next steps, and for more tips on 1:1 meeting agendas, read here. The role of a notetaker, which can alternate between the manager and the employee, or other, as I will explain, ensures that all action items and discussion points are accurately recorded. This approach is particularly beneficial in virtual meets, where it’s easy for details to get lost amidst technological distractions.

Here, however, as I referred to, tools like Bubbles' Notetaker can revolutionize how we conduct 1:1s, enhancing our ability to be fully present and engaged. This innovative tool easily and seamlessly hops in or out of meetings, offering automated secure recording, transcription, and note-taking capabilities. By handling these aspects, it allows both the meeting manager and their colleague to concentrate on the conversation, fostering a more productive work environment. This focused attention is instrumental in building trust and rapport, as it shows a commitment to actively listen and engage with each other’s perspectives.

Employee Engagement and Feedback

1:1s are an excellent platform for providing constructive feedback and discussing performance management. They allow for a more nuanced and personal conversation, where feedback can be given and received in a supportive and non-threatening manner. This kind of direct and honest feedback is essential for employee engagement and helps in fostering a high-performance work culture.

In these meetings, employees have the opportunity to ask questions and share their input on various topics, ranging from their daily tasks to their long-term career objectives. This active participation not only empowers the employee but also provides valuable insights to the manager about the team’s dynamics and individual needs.

However, there is no reason to limit efficient feedback to the meeting, and efficient rapport should continue post-meeting. A tool like Bubbles can help us to achieve this, as it plays a pivotal role in facilitating asynchronous collaboration after the 1:1 meetings. This platform allows for the easy exchange of ideas and feedback between meeting attendees and their colleagues, extending the conversation beyond the meeting room. Its features like annotating and providing constructive feedback contribute significantly to maintaining productivity and strengthening work relationships. By enabling a continuous flow of communication and tracking of action items, it ensures that the momentum gained during the 1:1s is not lost, but rather built upon.

Structuring Effective 1:1s

To maximize the benefits of 1:1s, certain best practices should be followed:

1. Schedule Regular Meetings

Consistency is key. Regularly scheduled 1:1s, whether they recur weekly or bi-weekly, help in maintaining continuous dialogue and ensuring that both parties are on the same page.

2. Define Clear Objectives

Every 1:1 should have a clear objective. Whether it’s a status update, brainstorming session, or a discussion about career progression, having a defined purpose makes the meeting more focused and productive.

3. Prepare an Agenda

Use an agenda template to outline the topics to be discussed. Invite both parties to contribute topics to ensure a balanced and relevant conversation.

4. Encourage Open Communication

Create an atmosphere where both participants feel comfortable to speak openly. Encourage the sharing of ideas, concerns, and feedback.

5. Follow Up with Action Items

Conclude each meeting with clearly defined action items and next steps, or let Bubbles' Notetaker do this for you. This helps in maintaining accountability and ensures that the conversation translates into tangible outcomes.


In summary, 1:1s are a powerful tool in the workplace. They foster rapport, enhance productivity, and facilitate open communication, among other things. When conducted with clear objectives and a structured approach, these meetings can transform the employee experience, bolster employee engagement, and drive organizational success.

Managers who master the art of 1:1s become more than just supervisors; they become catalysts for their team members' growth and success. By prioritizing these meetings, businesses can create an environment of trust, open communication, and high performance, ultimately leading to a more engaged and productive workforce.

Make your
meetings matter

Use AI to record, transcribe, and summarize meetings into actions. Bubbles is your home for after-meeting collaboration.

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Collaborate better with your team

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More from Bubbles

Collaborate better with your team

Get your point across using screen, video, and audio messages. Bubbles is free, and offers unlimited recordings with a click of a button.

Get started free

Make your
meetings matter

Use AI to record, transcribe, and summarize meetings into actions. Bubbles is your home for after-meeting collaboration.

Try it free in < 2 min

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