12 Ways To Ensure a Successful Meeting With Your Boss

By Indeed Editorial Team

April 8, 2021

When meeting with your boss, there are several ways you can make sure you have a productive and positive conversation. Employers have one-on-ones with employees to address important topics, answer questions and convey their thoughts about performance. By reviewing how to best prepare for, and act during a meeting with your boss, you can show your professionalism and maintain a productive work relationship.

In this article, we explore the types of situations that prompt one-on-one meetings with your boss, review why it's important to prepare for meetings with your boss and provide 12 tips to help you ensure a successful meeting.

Related: 27 Dos and Don'ts for How To Talk To Your Boss

What situations prompt one-on-one meetings with your boss?

There are a variety of situations where you may need to meet with your boss, one-on-one. Here are some examples to aide your understanding:

  • When meeting a new boss for the first time: When you receive a new boss, they may ask to complete one-on-ones with each member of a department or team to get to know each employee, their work styles, personalities and career goals.

  • When discussing performance: You also might have one-on-one meetings with your direct superior during routine performance evaluation periods. This can occur on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

  • When addressing changes in the workplace: In situations that require changing roles, department mergers or new projects, managers may schedule one-on-ones to make sure each employee feels comfortable and adjusts well.

  • When discussing raises or compensation opportunities: Employees can also meet with their managers when they're ready to ask for a raise, or when they want to learn more about certain benefits available to them.

  • When determining internal development opportunities: Managers speak with employees in one-on-one meetings to discuss potential internal promotions, conference opportunities or training programs that align with their career goals.

Related: 10 Ways To Show Professional Behavior in the Workplace

Why is it important to prepare for a meeting with your boss?

It's important to prepare for a meeting with your boss because it can influence its effectiveness. These are some specific examples of how you can benefit from preparing ahead of time:

  • Ensures you remember each topic you want to discuss: Regardless of the purpose of a one-on-one meeting, preparing ahead of time allows you to make notes about important topics or questions you want to address during your time with your manager.

  • Conveys your professionalism to your boss: When you come to a one-on-one meeting well-prepared, you show your manager that you care about your job and you value their time. This can also influence their perception of you as an employee.

  • Increases the productivity of a meeting: By giving yourself adequate time to prepare for a meeting, you can make sure you have a meaningful conversation with your manager.

  • Gives you time to build confidence: In situations where you want to ask for a raise or address concerns about your job, being well-prepared can help you feel at ease and ready to convey your needs to your direct superior.

12 tips for having a good meeting with your boss

Review these 12 tips to ensure you have an effective meeting with your boss, regardless of the subject matter:

1. Establish what you'll go over with your boss

Whether you or your boss requested a one-on-one meeting, make sure you each understand what topics you plan to discuss in the meeting. You can do this by emailing them and including one or more topics that you want to prioritize before you move on to other subjects.

Related: How To Prepare for a Business Meeting

2. Make a list of items you want to discuss during the meeting

By making a list, you can make sure you cover all the points you wanted to address with your boss during the meeting. You can also bring the list with you and use it as a reference to guide your discussion.

3. View the meeting as a positive opportunity

Whether you plan to discuss performance, pay needs, internal promotions, or workplace incidents, try to go into the meeting with a positive mindset. You can view it as a chance for professional improvement and enhanced communication between you and your boss.

4. Come up with ideas and solutions for problems

If you plan to discuss problems with job duties, software or other concerns, make sure you also draft a list of potential solutions to take with you into the meeting. This shows employers you're innovative and also shows your enthusiasm for your role.

5. Confirm your meeting time the day before

By confirming your meeting the day before, you remind your boss of your scheduled meeting time and convey your professionalism.

6. Bring a notepad with you

Throughout a one-on-one meeting with your boss, they might provide you with important information about areas they want to see you improve in, tasks they want your to complete or information about raise percentages and professional development research. Bringing a notepad allows you to take notes and make sure you remember important details later on.

7. Allow time for small talk

Although it's important to have a productive meeting and stay on task, this is also the perfect time to get to know your boss better, and form a positive relationship with them. This may occur at the beginning of the meeting and can help you ease into other subjects.

8. Ask for feedback

When you meet with your boss for a one-on-one meeting, this is the perfect time to ask for genuine feedback as you have their undivided attention. You can do this by asking them what they thought of a recent project your worked on or by asking them what areas they want to see you develop in.

Related: How To Ask for Feedback

9. Don't be afraid to ask too many questions

During a meeting with your boss, they might bring up terms or topics that you don't understand. By asking as many clarifying questions as possible, you can make sure that you leave the meeting with a clear understanding of new responsibilities, performance improvements or pay increases.

10. Bring up your career goals

Whether you're discussing performance, pay needs or just checking in with your boss, make sure you use the time you have during your meeting to you reiterate your career goals with the company. This shows your boss that you care about your role and want to take on additional responsibilities when available.

Related: Learn How To Make a Plan for Your Career Goals

11. Develop a plan for the future

At the conclusion of the meeting, speak with your boss about the next step and establish another meeting time if necessary. For example, you decide to schedule an additional meeting with your boss the following month to evaluate your progress with teamwork skills.

12. Send a follow up email and a thank you

After the meeting, write a brief email thanking your boss for their time and outlining the topics you discussed and your plans for the future. For example, "Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me about how I can improve my contributions to the department. I look forward to our follow up discussion next month."

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