Alix Renaut
 in  Best practices
4 minutes

How To Make Your One-on-One Meetings More Interactive

One-on-one meetings typically feel like boring status updates that could have happened via Slack or email. 

But they don’t have to be. With the right tools and processes, these meetings can be meaningful, productive, and engaging for everyone involved. 

Let’s discuss what to do before, during, and after your one-on-one meeting to make it interactive and a good use of everyone’s time. 

Before the meeting 

The most important things to do before your meeting are: 

1. Ask the other participant for their thoughts 

A one-on-one meeting isn’t a one-sided conversation. It needs to cover what the other participant wishes to discuss. You can collect this information through a shared meeting document created in Notion or with online word processors like Quip and Butter Docs.

List the topics you want to cover in the document and invite the other participant as a collaborator to do the same. If there are too many topics, use Beekast’s Eisenhower Matrix template to prioritize what will be covered in the meeting. 

2. Create a meeting agenda

Once you’ve decided on the key topics for discussion, the next step is to build a meeting agenda. 

Think of a meeting agenda as a roadmap. It’s like having a plan before you start a journey, but instead of roads and landmarks, it’s a plan for what you’ll talk about and do during the meeting. It provides a clear structure and direction so nothing goes out of scope. 

Here are some key characteristics of an excellent meeting agenda: 

  • Clearly states what the meeting is about and when it will take place
  • Mentions who will attend the meeting
  • Describes the reason for the meeting and what the organizers hope to achieve at the end
  • Outlines the main points or topics that will be discussed during the meeting
  • Specifies how much time will be allotted to each agenda item to ensure that the meeting stays on schedule 

Here’s what a one-on-one meeting agenda might look like: 

Date: March 25, 2024

Title: Monthly Performance Check-in Meeting

Participants: Yassine Chabli and Clara Plancon 

Venue: Google Meet 

Duration: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Central European Time)

Key Topic 1: Review the top three tasks from the previous month (15 minutes)

Key topic 2: Address the top three obstacles and challenges from the previous month (15 minutes)

Key topic 3: Discuss the top three tasks for the new month (15 minutes) 

Other Business: Any other business not covered in the main topics (10 minutes)

Closing: Confirm the date, time, and location of the next meeting (5 minutes)

You can tweak free meeting agenda templates to suit your specific needs if you don’t want to create yours from scratch.  

Learn more: How to create an effective meeting agenda with Beekast

During the meeting

There are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure that the conversation is interactive, engaging, and productive for both parties involved.

3. Kick off your meeting with icebreaker questions

Icebreakers are familiar, low-pressure questions that ease participants into the meeting. They help you avoid the awkward silence at the beginning of meetings. You know, that moment where you and the other person are quiet, looking at each other and waiting for someone to speak first. 

Weather questions are the most familiar (and frankly overused) meeting icebreakers. But there are more interesting ways to kick off your one-on-one meetings. For example, you can use Beekast’s Word Cloud activity to check each other’s mood before the meeting starts properly. 

You can also talk about what you’re both looking forward to after work or some high points of your week. 

Learn more: 9 quick and easy icebreaker activities for collaborative meetings

4. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions give you more insightful and productive conversations. Unlike closed-ended questions, which can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” open-ended questions require more detailed and thoughtful responses. You can ask follow-up questions based on these responses to carry the conversation further. 

For example, ask: what are some of the challenges you’ve faced this week? Instead of: did you face any challenges this week? The first question prompts the other party to discuss these challenges in depth. You can ask follow-up questions like: 

  • Why do you think [that] happened? 
  • How can I help you prevent this in the future? 

Open-ended questions also promote active listening and empathy, as they require the listener to take in the speaker’s words fully before responding.

5. Use visual aids

If you think visual materials only belong in group meetings, think again. Visual aids like charts, images, and slides are also super-important for one-on-one meetings. 

Specifically, they help you sustain engagement throughout the meeting. One can easily zone out when listening to another person for a long time. But an image or slide can capture and sustain their attention. 

You can create and edit slides directly in Beekast. If you already have your slides, add them to a tab in Beekast for easy access — along with your meeting agenda and other important information. You’ll share this tab with the other participant during the meeting. 

After the meeting

Now you’re done with the meeting, but it doesn’t end there. To wrap things up nicely, you need to: 

6. Ask for feedback 

Feedback helps you understand what went well with the meeting and what needs improvement. It also shows the other participant that you value their opinion. 

Beekast supports two methods of collecting feedback: ROTI and Feedback Door. The ROTI method asks the other participant to rate the meeting on a scale of 1-5 to determine if it was a good use of their time. Feedback Door, on the other hand, asks the participant to write feedback and categorize it as either positive or negative. 

Learn more: How to obtain effective feedback

7. Share the next steps 

Spelling out what happens after your meeting creates clarity for all participants. It helps everyone to know what they need to do, why and when it needs to be done. It also gives you the chance to answer any questions about tasks or smoothen out gray areas. 

This process doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. It can be as simple as saying, “Here’s what we discussed, here’s what needs to happen next, and here’s who’s responsible for each task.” 

Beekast automatically generates a meeting note — including information about the next steps — at the end of each meeting. That way, you don’t have to worry about manually writing meeting notes and extracting the next steps.  

Host interactive one-on-one meetings with Beekast

Beekast empowers you with everything you need to host productive and interactive meetings. It automates tedious tasks like writing meeting notes and timing discussions for key topics. It also has a full library of interactive activities that make your one-on-one meetings more engaging. 

Check out all of Beekast’s features to see how it can improve your meetings, whether online or in-person.