Effective strategies for maximizing 1:1 impact in just 10 minutes

"What should I focus on if I only have a 10-minute 1:1 with my direct report?"

In a 1:1 meeting, you have a unique opportunity to connect with your direct report on a personal level, build trust, and strengthen your working relationship. These meetings provide a dedicated space for open and honest communication, allowing you to address any concerns, provide feedback, and align on goals and expectations.

But what if you only have 10 minutes a week of 1:1 time with your direct report?

It's not an ideal situation, but sometimes 10 minutes is better than nothing. Learning a couple of effective communication strategies can help you maximize the impact and make the most of your limited time.

Set clear objectives for the 1:1

Before your 1:1 meeting, it's essential to set clear objectives for a focused and productive discussion. Take time to identify what you want to achieve during the meeting and align on these objectives with your direct report in advance. This will not only help you stay on track but also allow your direct report to come prepared with any necessary information or questions. By setting clear objectives, you can make the most of your limited 10 minutes and ensure the conversation is purposeful and meaningful.

Practice active listening

During your 1:1 meeting, practice active listening. Put aside distractions, maintain eye contact, and be fully present and engaged in the conversation.

It might seem counterintuitive, but interrupting to respond as soon as you feel you understand not only wastes time if you guess wrong but also communicates that you're more interested in talking than listening.

Instead, restate what you think you've heard in your own words and ask for clarification if anything is unclear.

If you can accomplish only one thing during your 1:1, let it be to help your direct report feel heard and understood.

Identify action items and follow up

At the end of your 10-minute 1:1 meeting, it is essential to agree on clear action items and follow up.

It's difficult to overstate how important it is to reliably follow up after the meeting! Nothing kills the trust faster than failure to follow up on commitments.

Summarize the key points, identify the next steps or commitments, and set deadlines or milestones, if necessary. This will help keep the momentum toward the goals discussed.

Additionally, schedule the next 1:1 or any necessary check-ins to maintain regular communication and continuity.

By establishing action items and follow-up plans, you can make the most of your limited time and ensure that the conversation leads to tangible outcomes.