I am a HUGE fan of the check-in and check-out team-building activity – especially on multi-day Zoom meetings.
People come to a team meeting with all kinds of random thoughts – what work still needs to be done, a problem to be solved, and a rumor floating around the (virtual) coffee pot. They aren’t really focused on the task to be accomplished or the process that will be used.
What they usually do is stroll in, check out who’s in the room (virtual or in-person), and maybe engage in light conversation with one or two people before getting down to business. So why not take advantage of this natural “check-in” with one or two people to “check-in” with the team? It allows team members to share what’s on their minds so they can focus on the team’s work.
At the beginning of each team meeting, just ask, “How’s it going?” or “What’s been going on since we last met?” It allows people to share what’s going on with them personally as well as organizationally. When you allow people a few moments up front to share issues or “get it off their chest,” it allows people to be physically and mentally present with the team.
I find a “check-in” to be particularly helpful if you met the day before and have had a chance to marinate over the previous day’s events. Maybe there is something that resonated? Or that we missed something? This is the time to share it!
Similarly, I like to have each person “check out” at the end of the meeting by saying,
“Share a word, phrase, or statement about how you are thinking or feeling about the day’s activities.”
In the in-person world, we simply go around the room. In the virtual world, I keep track of who has spoken by moving the boxes around!
By starting or ending with a check-in and check-out team building activity, the team will be able to “form” quickly, provide a sense of closure to the team’s activities, and let each other know what’s going on with them personally. This activity works well with any group size of fewer than twenty people, takes 5 to 10 minutes, and requires no materials.
If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action. Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.
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