1 Idea 9 Questions: Everyone Should Use Joint Meeting Documents for 1:1s

From time to time, I question my ideas before writing a blog post to clarify my thoughts and write a more precise blog post. I took the idea from Luca Rossi and expanded a little bit. I want to use these questions more and more before I start writing a new post. I also put a time limit of thirty minutes to answer these questions to challenge my idea.

This blog post format is my commitment to share these questions and give my idea in a distilled and raw form to anyone interested. If you want to read the outcomes of this thought, check out my two (1, 2) blog posts related to 1:1 meetings.

1. What is the idea?
Use a template for your 1:1 meetings and have a shared document where both sides can access and edit it anytime.

2. What Am I Really Trying To Say?
Having a shared document that both sides can fill during the week helps to focus on important topics and defining clear action items.

3. Who is my audience?
Software Engineers and Engineering Managers.

4. Why should people care? (what's the benefit)
Without a joint document used by both sides, it's similar to having no agenda and no-goal meetings. Topics are random, whatever comes to mind (often the last thing happened during the previous time) is discussed instead of other important things employee/manager had in their mind.

5. What is the most important point?
Fill it during the week. Don't wait for the meeting to come. And use it deliberately.

6. Why is that the most important point? (what can you achieve with it)

  • Writing down when something happens enables us to 1) express our feelings and thoughts better way 2) so that the manager is also aware of what you want to talk about so they don't have to bring the same topic to you 3) define clear action items and priorities for both sides.
  • Also, sending a direct message to a manager right after something bad happens has many risks. We might be very emotional at that point and say things that we don't mean. Putting it on the agenda helps us to gather our thoughts and allow us to have superior conversations.

7. What is the easiest way to understand the most important point?

  • Framework solves three problems:
  • We forget to talk about positive things. Especially if you feel like an imposter, we often think we could've done a better job. However, taking note of "Finished X & felt good" to get feedback from the manager helps pressure the imposter down.
  • On the negative thing, we most often talk with a lot of emotions. When the event is fresh, our emotions are more on the surface. In these times, we discuss our feelings and premature thoughts instead of thinking things through and discussing them properly.
  • With action items, we clearly outline what the next steps are

8. How do I want the reader to feel?
Empowered, motivated, and ready to try the template.

9. What should the reader do next?
Talk with their manager, and start using the template.

I use these questions and answers to write a blog post. These answers above formed two posts:

  1. Effective 1:1 Meetings - Own Your One-on-One Meeting
  2. Effective 1:1 Meetings - One-on-one Meeting Template
Short Form Last Updated: Jun 17, 2021