sing prompts to check-in during meetings, team huddles, hand-offs, etc. is a simple way to help each other reconnect to purpose, be more present and focused, connect to each other, and be more engaged at work. Checking-in also creates time and space to process events and experiences in a helpful, adaptive way.
How to lead a check-in
There is no one way to do a check-in. Here is a simple format that works for most circumstances.
Have every person check-in one by one. This tends to work well if the group is smaller than 14 people or if you have ample time to check-in.
Have the group break-up into pairs or groups of 3-4 people and converse for 5-10 minutes. This works well for groups consisting of 15+ individuals. When the whole group comes back together, you can
- request for a few people to share
- ask for highlights from each group
- ask what it was like to connect this way for a few minutes
Script for introducing a check-in
Let’s do a check-in.
The prompt for today is _________________ (choose from the list below).Everyone pause for a moment to think of your response and what you would want to share with each other. Please remember that you do not have to check-in and can simply say “pass” when it’s your turn.
Sample check-in questions (prompts)
Be sure to note the context of the situation and the general mood of the room. You want to ensure that your check-in question fits with current circumstances.
Note what kind of experience you want the group to have with the check-in. Is it time to be silly, inspired, grateful, etc.?
Consider how much time you have for the check-in and what parameters you need to set in order for the group to participate. For instance, you can use the prompts,
- “in one or two words…”
- “In one or two sentences….”
- “Taking a couple of minutes each…”
4 Tips from the experts
Tip 1: Use supportive prompts. As the check-in facilitator, you can use emotion coaching to respond to each participant (e.g., “Sounds like that was really meaningful.”). A simple “thank you for sharing” can also go a long way.
Tip 2: Order keeps it organized. It is usually more efficient to go around the room in a certain direction or call on people to share than wait for people to chime in.
Tip 3: Keep it relevant. Remind people to share stories that are appropriate for work and their work colleagues.
Tip 4: Keep it professional. Politely interrupt people who are oversharing or getting too personal. Follow-up with them individually.
- Psychological First Aid For Your Team | (Accelerate 2020) The Resiliency Center’s Megan Call and Amy Locke share helpful resources and list of prompts to connect your team.
- The Effective Communicator: Add Meaning To Your Meetings | (Accelerate 2019) Is a more meaningful meeting possible? Isaac Holyoak teams up with Megan Call of the Resiliency Center to help you start your meetings right.
- Check-In and Check-Out Questions (Hyper Island Toolbox) Step-by-step beginner facilitation guide for groups 2-40+.