5 Reasons Your Meetings Need A Check-in & Check-out Round

Every meeting can benefit from a check-in and check-out round. Here is what they are and why they'll supercharge your meetings.

One of the most important lessons I've learned about facilitating meetings at Murmur is that most meetings should start with a check-in round and end with a check-out round.

Have you ever been in a meeting where whoever was leading (or hopefully, facilitating) the meeting jumped right into the content of the meeting?

Most of the time a meeting can be effective just because you took time to orient the team towards each other. Being present with each other is one of the most important ingredients to a successful meeting.

The best way to increase the likelihood of everyone being present with each other is to add a check-in and a check-out to your meeting.

In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of having a check-in and check-out round, what a check-in and check-out round entail, and some questions you can use for a check-in.

5 Reasons to Check-In and Check-Out

When I first joined Murmur, I adopted doing a check-in and check-out round (a common practice in facilitation) and noticed immediately how much it brought me into the moment.

Adding a check-in and check-out round can benefit your meetings in several ways:

1. Build Stronger Relationships

The check-in and check-out rounds create a comfortable and safe space for everyone to share a low risk bit about themselves, leading to stronger relationships among team members.

2. Increase Engagement

You provide everyone with an opportunity to share their perspectives ensures engagement and participation from everyone present in the meeting.

3. Foster Creativity

The check-in and check-out rounds promote creativity by encouraging everyone to think outside of the box and express their unique perspectives. It also "primes the pump" for each person to say something.

4. Set the Tone

The check-in and check-out rounds can set the tone for the meeting by creating a welcoming environment where everyone feels included.

5. Improve Productivity

By providing structure to your meeting, a check-in and check-out rounds can ensure that everyone is on the same page and aware of the goals and objectives of the meeting.

What is a Check-In?

A check-in is a structured way for everyone to share something before the meat of the meeting. This round provides an opportunity for participants to get to know each other better, foster relationships and be present together.

Check-In Questions

Here are five possible check-in questions to help you get started:

  1. What's something you're looking forward to this week?
  2. What's one word that describes how you're feeling right now?
  3. What's one thing you're grateful for today?
  4. What's a recent challenge you overcame, and what did you learn from it?
  5. What's something you're working on that you're excited to share with the group?

If you don't like any of these, feel free to pull from my list of 100 Best Ice Breakers for Remote Team Meetings or come up with your own (and share them with me on Twitter!).

One of my all-time favorites (thanks to my friend Kate for reminding me) is "What has your attention?".

I love this question because it helps set the tone in a way that recognizes that we all bring stuff from outside this meeting into it.

What is a Check-Out?

A check-out round occurs at the end of the meeting and is designed to wrap up the meeting with novel takeaways, insights or noticings.

This round can be a chance for participants to express their gratitude, acknowledge team members or reflect on the meeting's content. Here are a few ways to structure the check-out round, you can ask:

  • What's one thing you noticed during the meeting?
  • What's one thing you learned from the meeting and how do you plan to use it?

The goal of the check-out is to help everyone leave knowing they could share what came up for them in the meeting and potentially create some new ideas.

Tips For Successfully Adding Check-ins

Here are a few tips to help make your check-ins more successful:

  • Plan 4-5 minutes at the beginning and 4-5 minutes at the end of the meeting to leave room for intentional and mellow check-in and check-out rounds.
  • A check-in starts with a question, feel free to use the ones in this post or borrow from my list of 100 Best Ice Breakers for Remote Team Meetings.
  • A check-in should be 1 person talking at a time, no cross talk.
  • A check-in should be light and delightful. If it gets serious, bring it in.o
  • If people seem sapped at the end of the meeting, ask them to share a gif about what they're doing in your team Slack channel or on their face if you use Around

Let's Checkout

The check-in and check-out rounds can transform a drab meeting into an effective and enjoyable one.

By building stronger relationships, increasing engagement, fostering creativity, setting the tone, and improving productivity, check-ins and check-outs can be a valuable addition to any meeting.

So my question for you is: what stops you from adding a check-in or check-out round to your meetings? I'd love to know, send me a DM on Twitter

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