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One-on-one Meeting Template: FREE Tool for Better Conversations

One-on-one Meeting Template: FREE Tool for Better Conversations

by | Mar 11, 2021 | By Karin Hurt and David Dye, Communication |

Use This One-on-One Meeting Template to Create a Better Cadence

Are your one-on-one meetings getting stale? Are you looking for more ways to support and challenge your team? Use our very popular one-on-one meeting template to plan for a better one-on-one.

In our leadership training programs, we encourage managers to consider their one-on-one meetings as a “monthly mix,” varying the focus each week. This customized strategy gives each employee exactly what they need at the moment, and encourages managers to provide a broader range of support.

For example, one week you might want to focus on “clarity,” helping your employee to understand what matters most and to prioritize their work. Then, another week you might choose to focus on capacity, ensuring they have the resources and training they need.

Of course, great one-on-one meetings are more of an art than a science.

strategic leadership and innovation programThe intention of this one-on-one meeting template is to give you prompts to consider in your planning—to give your employees a wider range of guidance and scaffolding.

If you are a manager whose natural tendency is to use one-on-one meetings to create clarity, you might want to mix in a “connection” or “capacity” conversation from time to time.

If you tend to host very casual one-on-one meetings to connect at a human level, you might want to try mixing in some of these other elements as well.

Of course, it’s most important to stay open at the moment and meet them where they are when using this one-on-one meeting template. You might start with a “clarity” intention and find that you need to shift gears and focus on connection.

How to Use This One-on-One Meeting Template

Start with an Intention for the One-On-One Meeting

What do you want them to think, feel, or do as a result of this one-on-one meeting? Start here in the one-on-one meeting template.

Note: Your employee may come in with another agenda—so important to stay open as well.

one-on one meeting create connectionCreate Connection

How can you start with a genuine personal connection?

Identify Your Focus for this One-On-One Meeting

What is the most important focus area(s) of this one-on-one meeting from your perspective?

4 Focus Areas to Consider For Your Next One-on-One

Clarity: Reinforce strategic and practical prioritiesvirtual one-on-one meetings create clarity

Note: Having your team member complete the MIT check-in questions works well for this kind of one-on-one.

  • What’s the most important thing you accomplished last week in terms of results and relationships?
  • What’s the most important thing you are focused on this week, in terms of results and relationships?
  • What support do you need from me?

Caring:  Connect at a human levelone-on-one meeting to connect at a human level

Note: This one’s hard to script, but the key here is asking open-ended questions and then really listen.

  • What’s most challenging for you right now?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • How’s _______ (check in on a person they care about.)

Communication: Reinforce key messages and check for understanding.

Note: One-on-one meetings are great to use as part of your 5×5 communication strategy.

  • What was your biggest takeaway from our staff meeting the other day?
  • What do you see as the biggest strategic priority for our team this month?
  • I’m curious how have you communicated _______ (insert key message here) to your team? How did they feel about it? What questions did they have?

Capacity: Identify support needed.

Note: This is an opportunity to ensure they have the tools, training, and support needed to be successful.Ask what support employees need

  • What roadblocks can I help you remove?
  • What additional training do you need?
  • Where are you stuck?
  • How can I best help you?

Curiosity: Solicit input and ideas.

Note: One-on-one meetings are a great time to ask people for their I.D.E.A.s, tap into best practices, ask courageous questions, and explore micro-innovations. 

Use this part of the one-on-one meeting template to draw out ideas.

What’s one thing we could do differently to improve our productivity?One-on-one meeting to ask for ideas

With regard to _______

U- What are we Underestimating?

G- What’s got to Go?

L- Where are we Losing?

Y- Where are we missing the Yes?

At our next one-on-one meeting, I’d like to get your best I.D.E.A. about how we can _____. (Interesting, Doable, Engaging, Actions)

___ _______________________________ (add your other meeting focus notes here)

Download the FREE One-on-One Meeting Template HereOne-on-one meeting template

One-on-One Meeting Planner

More Resources to Help You Be a Better Manager

Karin Hurt David Dye Winning Well Book

How to Provide More Meaningful Performance Feedback

Psychological Safety: Why People Don’t Speak Up at Work

Two Leadership Skills Your Middle Managers Need Most

Download a FREE chapter of Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results– Without Losing Your Soul.

Your turn. We would love to hear how you are using the one-on-one meeting template. Drop us a note and let us know how it works for you!


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Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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