How to get one-on-one meetings with your boss
Employees commonly stay away from meetings alone with the boss because of how daunting it can feel. It can be scary, not to mention painfully awkward. However, we often forget that despite their superiority, they’re every bit as human as you are. This time, instead of avoiding the opportunity, seize it.
Get over the fear
Not all bosses are jerks – think about someone who has climbed the ladder to get to where they are and how much wisdom they could share with you. Meetings with the boss should be something to hope for, not something to fear. Once you get over the anxiety a one-on-one meeting with the boss can induce, you’ll realize that the next biggest thing you’ll have to consider is whether they have time for you.
Help them make time
Bosses are the brains of companies. They’re needed at all times and often have extremely full schedule, but a meeting doesn’t need to take very long, especially if you’re prepared. Prepare yourself for the possibility that they may need to cancel the meeting by finding out when they’re most free, or most comfortable for a meeting. If it’s casual, it could even be done over lunch! Politely asking or sending a clear email is a good first step.
In scheduling a meeting between a busy boss and yourself, be understanding. Plan your topic of conversation. Know what questions to ask. Prepare materials if you need them. When going to your boss to make a meeting request, tell them up front how long it could take, with an end time in sight. Remember: Don’t take up too much of their time and make it worthwhile. They’re busy people!
Know what you want and don’t give up
Sometimes, despite all the bravery, prep work and effort that goes into arranging a meeting, all it takes is one urgent issue to steal the attention from you. You can’t blame your boss, they’re constantly putting out fires. Don’t fret – having your boss cancel the meeting doesn’t mean you can’t reschedule. Even if it’s not the first time. If it’s important to you, keep rescheduling until you hit that golden date where all distractions are kept at bay.
Compromise until they give in
So you’ve tried everything. The boss just doesn’t have time for you. That’s fine, you can compromise, right? Offer other methods, like an email conversation or a meeting via phone call. Help them along the process, too. Even if they’re already taking notes, have a rundown ready for them so they don’t forget everything that was addressed during the meeting. If you can, cut out the fat and just highlight the most important things. How prepared you are might just convince them that it’s worth that little bit of their time.
The process could be tough at first, but stay on track. The satisfaction of a first successful meeting will be worth it – and you’ll have learned all the pitfalls to avoid for the next one-on-one meeting!