Building relationships creates commitment, the glue of an organization. Leadership begins with understanding yourself: your values, your motivation, your story. But leadership is about enabling others to achieve purpose. The foundation of this kind of leadership is the relationships built with others, most especially, others with whom we can share leadership.

The Art of the One-On-One

One way to initiate intentional relationships is the one-on-one meeting, a technique developed by organizers over many years. But while it sounds easy enough to ask someone out for coffee, how do you ensure you are actually, actively building relationship during that conversation?

1. Get the other person’s attention; be up front and make sure to get acquainted with them! (Avoid chit-chatting about private interests or straying too far from the purpose of the meeting.)

2. What is the purpose or goal of setting up the meeting? State your interest. (Avoid being unclear about the purpose of the conversation.)

3. Most of the one-on-one should be devoted to exploration by asking probing questions to learn the other person’s values, interests, and resources. (Avoid trying to persuade the other person or skipping stories to “get to the point.”)

4. It’s a two-way street! Exchange resources such as information, support, and insight. (Avoid missing the opportunity to share ideas about how things can change.)

5. A successful one-on-one meeting ends with a real commitment to continuing the relationship, such as scheduling a specific time to meet again. (Avoid ending the conversation without a clear plan for next steps.)

Build New Organizing Relationships

Practice the art of the one-on-one meeting with one of our facilitated team breakout sessions at the next WiLD Project workshop!