Eight questions to talk about in a 1:1 meeting

How you can create 1:1 check-ins with your team member or manager that are productive and meaningful.

Bjorn Amherd
3 min readSep 16, 2022
Illustration of a women having a virtual meeting.
Illustration via storyset.com

Before we start, it’s important to note that this structure can be applied by all attendees — it’s not up to one side only to organise and shape these periodical sessions.

If you’re currently not having 1:1s with your manager, organise one! Put in a 15–25 minute meeting every one or two weeks where you both meet. You can use the following questions as a starting point — rewrite as needed.

1. How are you?

It’s important to start with the person behind the job. Ask if they are ok and if they need help right now. We conduct almost all meetings over Zoom now and it’s often very hard to see how a person is feeling in just 25 minutes of screen time. This first part is also a great ice-breaker into the more corporate part of the 1:1.

2. What was your biggest win?

Wins are great — they push us forward. Celebrating them — even in a small circle is important. We’re not talking about “I signed a $500,000 contract with company X” here (although good on you if that’s the case). A win can be a great workshop you moderated, a coffee you had with a colleague or a breakthrough on how to solve a specific problem. A win is a win, no matter how small.

3. What was your biggest frustration?

Celebrations are done, let’s talk about the ugly bits, the things that bother us, that drag us down. Try to find out why it’s frustrating and also if the issue is under control (e.g. “Slack was down but now it’s okay”), or if you can step in to help (or escalate if needed).

4. What are your top areas of focus right now?

Obviously you both should know what everyone is working on. But within each project or initiative, there are ups and downs, and focus might change. Talk about if the project is still on track and goes as planned. If it’s running smoothly, no need to offer help.

5. How are your stakeholder relationships going?

We’re in most cases members of larger teams, with internal or external stakeholders influencing, steering or contributing to our projects, products and services. This part focuses on these relationships and asks if they are going well or not so well. You can again offer help to make working with each other easier for all people involved.

6. How is your career focus?

Thinking about our careers can sometimes take a backseat in our busy lives. We’re on the tools or in meetings all day and forget about our next step. This part should trigger us to think about our career growth. This can be a chat you had with someone new, or you heard about a project that’s coming up and you’re interested to join.

7. Do you have any training or education in mind?

There are tons of activities and assets available for us to learn and improve. But very often, we don’t take time out of the calendar to attend these events and courses, or read these books. This section of the 1:1 is again a reminder to not forget about these aspects. If someone wants to attend a seminar or a course to learn new things, you can offer a way to make this possible.

8. What feedback do you have for me?

The foundation for the whole 1:1 session is bi-directional trust, and this last question can help to establish and reinforce this. So far the session was a bit one-sided — the employee answered questions about themselves. For this last part, we flip it and ask for feedback for us. And if you ask for feedback, be prepared to receive feedback.

You’ve seen that most of the sections we talk about conclude with an offer to support and help. I believe that managers are here to support their team members professionally and emotionally, to make them successful by removing barriers and blockers, and to build a culture of communication.



Bjorn Amherd

Product design lead for the dealership experience at carsales. 20+ years experience. Worked for REA, Myer, HESTA, Bunnings, Optus, Fisher & Paykel in the past..