How to use 1:1 Meetings to Propel Your Career


Mansoor Khan

about 2 minutes Mar 06, 2024

How to use 1:1 Meetings to Propel Your Career
Rahul Pandey was a Tech Lead at Facebook and he’s the founder of Taro, a community for software engineers to share career advice.
He posted a fantastic video on tips for doing 1:1s effectively.


You should be having regular 1:1 meetings with your manager to discuss career growth, issues and provide feedback. These meetings are key to building trust in your relationship.

Pursue Awkward 1:1s
Mark Rabkin, a Vice President at Facebook, wrote a great article about making your 1:1 meetings awkward. You shouldn’t waste this time on topics that could easily be discussed in the open.

Instead, talk about things like

  • Meta & Feelings - Talk about emotions. Are there any fears you feel (around career, project, upcoming deadlines, etc.)? Discuss them.
  • Honest Feedback - Ask them how you can be better. Or, maybe there’s feedback they gave you in a performance review that you disagree with. Talk about that.
  • Seek Advice - Discuss a growth area you’re currently working on and ask for suggestions.
Embrace the concept of having an “awkward” 1:1 meeting with your manager.

Go Beyond Status Updates
It’s easy for weekly 1:1 meetings to devolve into what you did last week and your plans for this week.
Instead, you could think about your highlight and lowlight of the last week and share that with your manager, along with any associated feelings.
Another tactic is to share an observation about your environment/work and give your thoughts about it. You might talk about how everyone on the team shows up late to a certain meeting and that makes you feel like the team doesn’t find it useful and maybe it could be eliminated.

Write Down Takeaways
Many engineers don’t have a system to track the 1:1 discussions over time.
You should consistently be writing down meeting notes in a shared place that you and your manager have access to.
This will show your manager that you’re listening and that you care about what happens in the 1:1 meetings.
It will also give your manager a clear view of your progression over time. This can be very useful for performance reviews.
You can view the full video here.

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Category:  Misc