How to prepare for a meeting with your manager

We recently had a reader ask us how we prepare for a informal review meeting with a manager. While some of our tips will depend on the personality of your manager, here’s what we would do for just a routine catch up.

Come up with a simple, yet straightforward agenda

An agenda will keep the conversation on track and shows that you are prepared and focused.

Keep it to 3-5 points at most depending on how much time you have. You can either send the agenda via email the morning of your chat or put it in the body of the meeting invite.

Have a list of your recent projects/accomplishments handy

Never assume a manager is fully aware of your projects and day-to-day tasks. You might have to refresh their memory which they will be very grateful for.

Talk about something you enjoyed

Positive feedback goes a long way! I always try to talk about a project I’ve enjoyed or a colleague who’s been helpful. Your manager will appreciate it and it usually helps them get a better understanding of what matters to you.

Ask about their goals or priorities for the team

By learning about the items your manager has to juggle, you can determine where you can add direct value and also where they will spending their time and energy.

Volunteer to help out on something that you wouldn’t normally be assigned to so you can expand your internal network and skills.

Ask for feedback

I always like to end the conversation by asking for feedback or areas of improvement. It’s valuable to know what traits and skills are important to your manager.

Remember to accept feedback with an open mind - this is not the time to be defensive as your manager wants to help you grow. It’s hard not to take it personally but if you really are having a difference of opinion, discuss it with a colleague/mentor first.