What's the most important factor in the success of any company? It's their people. And the most important aspect for leaders and managers is ensuring that everyone in their organisation can contribute in their most meaningful way. Part of this is a feedback culture that works. Allowing for bi-directional feedback. The perhaps simplest, yet most effective way to implement a good feedback culture is running effective one-on-one meetings. In this article, I want to share how to best run those one-on-one meetings, and give you a template for taking effective meeting minutes (also known as meeting minutes) in this setting.
How to Run Effective One-on-one Meetings
First and foremost, there is no secret formula in running great one-on-one meetings. There are many factors that determine what works best and what doesn't like the company culture, personal relationship, and power distances. So in the end, it is really up to leaders and managers to figure out what format works best for them. Nevertheless, over the years, we have found one format that works particularly well for us (and so does it for many other leaders). It's called the Start-Stop-Keep model and can be used as meeting agenda items helping you structure your one-on-ones effectively.
In a one-on-one meeting, you and the person you are speaking with should prepare their feedback and thoughts in advance using the three categories: start, stop, and keep.
In the first category, you share what you believe a person should start doing to be more successful in their role. Ideally, these are concrete behaviours and actions you want to see to happen. Next, the "stop" category mentions the aspects you think are not helpful in working together. Lastly, you mention all the things a person does well in the "keep" category. This is an important part to not only give praise, but also remind the other person about the things that make them particularly successful in their role. With these three buckets, you ensure that the one-on-one meeting is actually helpful and maximise the likelihood of long-term behaviour change occurring.
Why take meeting minutes in 1-1 meetings
Having an effective one-on-one meeting is great, but in the end what matters more is the impact of that meeting. Simply: "Is something changing?". A crucial part in this is taking high-quality meeting minutes. This can be done in any text editor you like and the meeting agenda can be based on the format shared earlier. Based on the discussion you have, you can fill in the meeting minutes capturing the most important points. After, these can be quickly shared with the meeting participant. This record of the things that were discussed is important for three reasons.
1) Ensuring Everyone is on The Same Page
Firstly, you want to ensure that the things that were discussed in your one-on-one meeting are actually understood by the both of you. Having meeting minutes as a future reference is helpful because in case a misunderstanding took place, it can be noticed right away. The meeting minutes serve as a common ground and are henceforth an official record between both participants.
2) Enabling Accountability
Writing meeting minutes allows you to always look back on what has been discussed in a previous meeting. Without a written record, it is hard to keep everyone accountable on the changes they agreed on in the one-on-one meeting. Having these previous meeting minutes is then an optimal starting point for enforcing accountability. The simple act of taking notes and structuring the in meeting minutes allows you to enforce that accountability which goes a long way in making change happen.
3) Meeting Minutes can be used as a working document
If you take meeting notes inside a text editor like Google Docs or Notion, you can share the document afterwards and both people can edit it in real-time. This means that you can use the meeting minutes as a working document where updates could be shared. For example, if you agree that one person should develop a new skill, updates could be captured in the document where the meeting minutes are stored and revisited in the next one-on-one meeting. This allows you to keep track of the changes you discussed.
Template for Meeting Minutes in One-on-one settings
For your convenience, we created an easy-to-use meeting minutes template in Google Docs that you can use for your next one-on-one meeting based on the format presented earlier. In our meetings, we have used this template in the past for meeting minutes and filled out the relevant points while in a meeting. You can copy this template into your favourite tool to take structured meeting minutes.
The way to us this in your next meeting is by sending an interactive link to all meeting participants using Google Docs which allows everyone to use the template to take meeting minutes simultaneously. However, bear in mind that when multiple meeting attendees take meeting minutes at the same time, it can get messy quickly. Hence, consider taking over the function as the note taker to ensure you have a historical record of the meeting that is not messy.
Automatic Meeting Notes with jamie
A common problem we faced is that writing meeting notes while in the meeting did not allow us to be fully present. Further, taking meeting notes after the meeting out of memories is cumbersome and it's easy to miss relevant aspects. Luckily, however, we have decide to solve this problem by building a personal AI assistant called jamie for meetings that automatically records notes for you without the manual steps involved. This way, you never need to take manual meeting minutes again as jamie will automatically capture the key points in an elegant way. If you are interested, you can give jamie a try for free in up to 5 meetings. No credit card required.
Taking high-quality meeting minutes is, and always has been an important part of effective meetings. Especially in one-on-one settings, taking good meeting minutes allows you to ensure everyone is on the same page and enforce accountability. With the Start-Stop-Keep format, you can also encourage actionable feedback that provokes long-term change.