Last reviewed: 1 February 2022

Activities

Check-in

A way for your group to introduce themselves to each other and find out how people are feeling that day.

  • The team
  • 5 to 15 minutes

Advice on check-ins

Why do a check-in

Check-ins can help your team to:

  • say hello and talk to each other
  • clear their minds of other things
  • focus on the meeting
  • contribute their thoughts
  • share anything on their mind

Check-ins can help facilitators to:

  • see who’s in the room
  • get a sense of how people are feeling
  • identify anything that could affect someone's ability to input
  • get people talking

Who is involved

All members of the team including anyone in the office or working remotely at home.

When to have a check-in

At the start of any meeting, workshop, or other group activity.

Things you’ll need

It’s good to use a physical or digital prompt for people to talk around. You could ask people to select emojis from a sheet of paper or an online whiteboard tool like Miro.

You could also talk through the instructions without anything visual.

Tips on running the session

Introduce the check-in with a brief description of why you’re asking people to do the activity.

When choosing a check-in activity or question, think about how it relates to the overall purpose of the meeting or workshop. For example, you may want:

  • to hear about people’s frame of mind: whether they’re distracted, confused about this meeting’s purpose, or excited to get started. This is useful to know as you move into the main meeting.
  • the group to learn a little more about each other outside of work, as this can help a group feel happier and work together more effectively.
  • to hear everyone’s overall feeling about the main activity topic. Knowing this can be useful context for everyone before getting into details about it.

Different groups have different choices for check-ins. Some like new questions to get to know people, other groups prefer focused questions with a clear link to the session’s purpose. If you’re not sure, you can ask people before the day of the session.

Learn more

View our Miro board of check-in examples

Hyper island check-in questions

Questions for check-ins — The Circle Way

250 Conversation Starters

Glossary

Related terms: facilitator, safe environment.

See definitions of these terms in our glossary.

How to do a check-in

How to use the steps

This is one way of doing this activity based on our experience.

You might want to adapt it or only use part of it.

Teams often find their own way of doing an activity. This is a guide to get you started.

  1. Welcome and introductions

    Introduce yourself, the overall topic of the session.

    Check that everyone knows who everyone else is.

  2. Introduce the aims of the session

    Explain that a check-in is a quick activity to:

    • mark the start of a session
    • get a little involvement from everyone
    • learn a bit about each other
  3. Discuss any blockers or limitations

    Decide how long you would like the check-in to take, and guide participants to help keep to the timing. You could:

    • explain at the start how much time you’d like the group to spend on the check-in overall. You could give guidance like, “this is a quick check-in” or “we’d like to hear more about…”
    • use instructions like “in one word…” or “in a few sentences…”
    • encourage people to speak for longer, or thank them and move on, as you go round the group

    If you are using any visual tools, check that everyone can access them.

  4. Do the method or activity

    Set a question for everyone to answer for the check-in.

    Give them a moment to think about it before asking each person for their response.

    Some questions you could choose from, depending on the aim of the check-in:

    To get an idea of how you feel about this topic:

    • what was your initial reaction when the invite to this activity arrived?
    • is there anything that you are excited or worried about coming out of today’s session?

    To get us focused on this session:

    • is there anything distracting you right now, and what might help you focus?
    • what’s one thing you really hope we accomplish today?

    Learning a bit more about each other can help us work together. Please share:

    • what’s a recent fun thing you did outside?
    • what’s your favourite way to waste time?
  5. Review the method or activity

    Reflect on anything that came up from the check-in responses

    If lots of people are uncertain about the topic, take time to check for understanding and to explain things people have questions about.

    If anyone says they are feeling really tired or upset, avoid asking them unexpected questions, but try to include them as you normally would.

  6. Close the session

    Thank people for their contributions and close the session.

    You could say, “we’ll the end the check-in there, next is…” and introduce the next activity.

To decide what you work on next, go to ways of working activities.

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