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How to run the most effective one-on-one meeting [+Template]

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Build trust and and alignment with this one-on-one meeting template

A one on one meeting template for managers to keep track of their meeting notes with their direct reports. 1:1 meetings are important for performance feedback and goal setting.
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What is a one-on-one meeting template?

A one-on-one meeting template aids with the discussion, questions and feedback discussed during a one-on-one meeting. If the one-on-one is between an employee and their manager, the one-on-one template would assist with the employee's performance review.
At the very least, the meeting template should have the agenda fo the one-on-one and meeting questions from either participant. If it's the first one-on-one, the template might have some background information about the company, each person, and the purpose of the one-on-one meeting. For more regular on-one-one meetings (on a weekly cadence), the template may contain discussion notes, career goals, and action items for each participant to follow up on.

How to use this one-on-one meeting template?

This one-on-one template is meant to be a shared collaborative resource between two people. Here are the step-by-step instructions for how to use this template:

Step 1: Share this template with the colleague you are having a one-on-one with

After you have copied this template to your Coda account, you can share the template just like you would any other Google Doc. Click on Share and type in your colleague's email address. At the bottom of this page, you'll see a heading that says "Who is this 1:1 meeting doc for?" You should select your colleague in the dropdown.

Step 2: Duplicate the agenda for each one-on-one meeting

On the page, each meeting has its own heading. You can expand and collapse each header to see the agenda for each meeting. When it's time for the next meeting, just change the date in the heading by clicking on the date. The proposed agenda can be changed depending on the needs of your manager or direct reports.

Step 3: Add action items

You'll notice that for each one-on-one meeting there is an Action Items header. As you add action items to this table, they will all be aggregated on the page. Action items will inevitably come out from your one-on-ones and each person may have next steps. The page gives both people one place to see what needs to be done after the one-on-one meeting.

👉 Get started with: one-on-one meeting template
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Whether it's a simple check-in or a full on performance review, you can customize this one-on-one template to fit the needs of you and another team member. This template can help with tracking action items and all meeting notes that come from the one-on-one meeting.

The purpose of one-on-on meetings

Your calendar is filled with recurring meetings every week on project status updates, all-hands meetings, and goal-setting meetings. One of the most important meetings is the one on one meeting since it allows you and your manager or direct report to build a personal relationship. Above all else, the purpose of a 1:1 meetings is to give the direct report an opportunity to discuss their ideas, goals, and needs. The one-on-one meeting is also an important way for two colleagues to build trust with each other.
There are many ways to structure a 1:1 meeting. If you are the manager, remember that the meeting is meant for the direct report. The manager’s role is to facilitate the development of their direct report. A typical structure might be the manager providing an update, the direct report providing an update, and then the remaining time is used for both manager and direct report to discuss future goals and plans.

How to prepare for a one-on-one meeting

Just as important as the meeting is the preparation itself. If you are the direct report, one of the most important aspects of the meeting is ensuring there is an agenda prepared before the meeting. If you are the manager, you can help create that agenda using this template or this and sharing it with your direct report.
In this , one of the tips for having a successful 1:1 is having questions ready to ask during the meeting. As questions come up during the work week about longer-term goals and projects, write them down in this template so that once your 1:1 meeting happens, you’ll have the questions ready to ask your manager to make the most of the time you two have together. Long-term goals are important to discuss during the 1:1, so the manager and direct report should spend time on discussing these goals over more short-term action items for day-to-day work.

How to have an effective one-on-one meeting

There are several ways to have an effective one-on-one meeting. As you build rapport and trust with your colleague, you can adjust this meeting template as your agenda changes. After the first one-on-one meeting, the next meeting might focus on career development or long-term goals. Here are some ideas for having an effective one-on-one meeting:

1. Growth opportunities

Great managers will focus on ways to foster employee engagement with the employee's work and with the company overall. During the one-on-one, the manager can ask questions on how the employee sees their future at the company and what they would like to accomplish 3-5 years in the future.

2. Come prepared with an agenda and questions

Instead of having an open-ended conversation, have a focused agenda where both parties contribute to the agenda and add questions to be answered. The meeting agenda template in this one-on-one template is a good template to get started with. You can see the notes from the last meeting and use that as a starting point for the next meeting.

3. Establish a regular cadence

A common cadence for one-on-one meetings is running them every week. This gives both parties a predictable cadence for checking in and going through agenda items. If the one-on-ones are too spaced apart, it may be difficult to address roadblocks the employee is facing. On a quarterly or annual basis, you might do a more comprehensive one-on-one like a 360 review or an annual review.

Organizing meeting notes

There are multiple ways of organizing your 1:1 meeting notes with direct reports. One of the most common ways is to create one Google Doc for each of your direct reports (e.g. “John’s 1:1 notes”). What results with this structure is that the Google Doc becomes one long scrolling doc and you may have to insert a table of contents to refer back to older notes.
Another downside of this system is following up on action items from the 1:1 meetings. Perhaps there is an action item from several weeks ago that you needed to follow up on but it got lost in the long Google Doc. This may result in the necessity for another system to just track action items resulting from your 1:1 meetings which may be a Google Sheet.
This one on one meeting template allows you as a manager or direct report to maintain all aspects of 1:1 meetings in one place. Your meeting notes are separated by dates along the left hand section-list so that you don’t have to worry about scrolling through one long Google doc.
Keep track of meeting minutes, meeting agendas, and more in this template or try our . For each day’s meeting note, you can also add action items that either the manager or direct report needs to follow up on. Check out for other templates related to meetings.
on how to use this template.

Common FAQs about one-on-one meeting templates

What are good questions to ask in a one-on-one?

If it's the first one-on-one, you may want to ask questions that help build rapport with the other colleague before moving on to other talking points. Simple questions like "how are you?" or "what do you do for fun?" might a a good way to start building trust.
As your one-on-ones become more regular, questions on career development might include:
What are your long term goals at this company?
What skills would you like to develop?
What training do you need?
Employee feedback is important to share during a one-on-one to ensure you get the best work out of your employees. Questions around feedback might include:
How do you like to receive feedback?
Are you receiving enough feedback on your work?
What's an area of development you want to improve?

How long should a one-on-one meeting be?

The cadence for a one-on-one meeting should be weekly and should be between 30-60 minutes depending on the agenda and goals of the one-on-one. If the one-on-one happens to be an annual review, the meeting might be longer as there will be more to discuss in terms of the employee's performance review and career development goals.

What should you talk about in a one-on-one?

To recap the agenda in this one-on-one meeting template, a proposed agenda might be: topics, goals, notes, and action items. Topics and goals can be filled out by either person before the one-on-one meeting and notes and action items can be added in real-time during the meeting. The first meeting may be different as you are still in the process of building trust with your colleague.
Other topics you may consider talking about in a one-on-one include:
Feedback on a specific project
Prioritize tasks
Discuss things that are going well and not going well
Give an update on goals or OKRs
Escalate issues
Non-work topics


1️⃣ Select your direct report in the table below if you are the manager.
2️⃣ Go to and start writing notes! You can copy/paste each high-level bullet for your next 1:1 and then "fold" the bullet so it doesn't take up too much space on your page.
3️⃣ At the bottom of each meeting notes section, add action items resulting from the 1:1 meeting. See all your AIs for you and the direct report in . Click this button to clear dummy data 👉
Clear action items
4️⃣ Duplicate this doc for each of your direct reports by clicking the dropdown arrow next to the title of this doc and click Copy doc. 👇

Who is this 1:1 meeting doc for?

Team Member Name
Evan Davies
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