I manage a bunch of interns - I had 20 this summer. I do one-on-ones every week or every other week, depending on how many hours they're in per week.
They sometimes don't have 10 minutes of topics they want us to talk about during their time. Any suggestions? My main question is, if they run out of topics they want to talk about during their 10 minutes, which of these options (or another one entirely) is the best?
- Guide the conversation to topics I believe will matter to them (e.g. things they've brought up in the past), so even though I'm technically setting the agenda, I'm setting it with their interests in mind.
- Encourage them to do more prep work before our one-on-one so they'll have things to talk about - I've done a bit of this already, but I'm wary of pressuring them too much, lest they begin to doubt whether the one-on-one time is really for their benefit.
- Move on to my agenda time if they don't have enough time (this is my least favored option).
For some background:
- It's not a problem of them being scared of me or disliking me - they respond well to other things (e.g. when I ask to give them feedback), and I'm extremely receptive to their suggestions.
- They're mostly undergraduate and high school students, and many of them haven't worked in an office setting before, so some of them may just have too little experience to feel they can share their thoughts much.
- Since many of them are in as little as 12 hours a week, they may feel they haven't been doing enough to talk about much.