How To Make The Most Of One-On-One Meetings With Your Boss

Do you love working for your boss? Or are you terrified every time your supervisor comes into the room? Depending on the relationship you have, meeting one on one with your boss can be a great experience or an intimidating one. 

So what can you do to make it better?

Regardless of how you define your working relationship, there’s a good chance your boss is pressed for time. So whether you’re looking to create a better relationship or maintain the good one you have, you have to make the most of your time with him or her.

When you get a time slot on your boss’ calendar, you’ve got to know how to maximise that time – and that starts with having a plan. The more prepared you are, the better the meeting will go, so make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row beforehand.

Keep reading for everything you need to learn to make the most of a one-on-one meeting with your boss.

Have a Plan

If you’re the one that asked to have the meeting, you better make sure you have a plan. And it ought to be a good one.

Before you meet, create an agenda or a list of topics that you need to discuss.

If your boss called the meeting, it’s likely they have their own agenda. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring up a few topics on your own.

When creating a list of things to discuss, think about how much time you have carved out to talk.

If you only have 15 minutes, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise. If you’re having a quick get-together in the break room over lunch, it’s best not to bring up things that need to be kept private.

When you do need to discuss something important, such as a raise, make sure you schedule a private meeting to have that conversation.

Prioritise Discussion Topics

Regardless of how much time you have scheduled, there’s always a chance that your time could get interrupted or cut short.

With that in mind, make sure you prioritise the list of things you want to discuss.

Discuss the most important, pressing issues first. Those items include things you need your boss to sign off on and things that you need to discuss in length. Write your agenda first, then prioritise items on your list based on importance.

Don’t start with small talk – dive headfirst into those critical issues. If there’s time left at the end, you can enjoy some light chit chat (if you and boss have that type of relationship).

You want the meeting to be productive. You want to leave knowing that things have been accomplished. The last thing you want to do is squander the time and have to schedule for another day.

If for some reason your meeting gets derailed and you don’t have time to wrap things up, send a follow-up email immediately after it ends. That’s your chance to reiterate important issues or mention something that you didn’t get to say.

Don’t let a day pass by – it’s best to follow up immediately so that the topics you’ve discussed are still fresh in your boss’ mind.

If Your Boss Asks to Cancel, Reschedule Right Away

It’s likely that your boss is busy. So, if something more pressing pops up, they may have to cancel on you at the last minute.

If that happens, don’t let on that you’re frustrated or annoyed. Instead, immediately ask to reschedule.

While it may throw a wrench in your well-laid plans, a delayed meeting is not the end of the world. Think of it as extra time you have to prepare.

The worst thing you can do is meet with your boss when you don’t have their undivided attention. If rescheduling is the only way to get some focused one-on-one time, do so.

Talk About Your Career Goals

Let your boss know that you want to have a conversation concerning your career goals.

Make it clear that you want to grow with the company and make advancements where you can. If your boss is sincerely invested in your growth, they’ll be happy to take the time to have that discussion.

Remember – you don’t want to have an in-depth conversation if you only have a short amount of time to do so.

Decide beforehand if this is the right time to talk about your long-term goals with the company. If it’s not, ask to schedule time to discuss that specific issue.

Make Your Meeting Actionable

There’s no better waste of time than leaving a meeting and not knowing what your next steps should be.

When you’re reviewing topics on your agenda, make sure that you fully finish one point before moving onto the next.

Make sure that there is some level of action that needs to take place, whether it’s an action you perform or one that your boss takes the lead on.

Create actionable points that need attention when the meeting is over. 

Before you leave, schedule a time to follow up on the progress of those tasks. If your boss assigns you a task and you’re not sure how to approach it, ask them. It’s always better to ask for clarification than to leave confused or unsure of what you’re supposed to do next.

Your meeting will be much more productive if you know who should do what and when.


“Gabrielle Hendrickson is the Business Manager at Ascent Cottonwood. With over four years of experience in the industry, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping others and makes this property a place everyone loves to call home.”

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