Checkin Method [including Checkin questions generator]

Checkin Method [including Checkin questions generator]

Published
March 26, 2024
Author

Beli Löw

Lecture
4 min

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https://checkin.notioneers.eu

Launch Check-in Tool

No, we're not talking about the airport. We're talking about meetings. Before we dive into the agenda, we usually do a check-in (also known as "Icebreaker" or icebreaker questions). This is so that we all know where we currently stand. So that we arrive at the meeting. A brief moment to align with each other. And unlike at the airport, we also do a check-out at the end.

Check-in method helps to arrive at the meeting

We ask check-in questions at the beginning and check-out questions at the end of a meeting. The activating question is answered by all attendees in turn.

Often one meeting chases the next and we all need a moment at the beginning to really arrive at the new topic. Targeted check-in questions make this arrival easier. The check-in allows us to pause past topics and become present as a team. We can better assess contributions from individual people afterwards because we know where the person currently stands. We end the meeting with a check-out question that helps us draw a line under what has been worked out. This facilitates collaboration and creates a sense of community.

Are you leading the meeting? Then think about an appropriate question in advance.

#1 Embed the check-in question in the context

Ideally, the check-in question is well embedded in the meeting context. This way it doesn't feel so foreign to check-in novices. So think about where the group is at and which question fits. The following considerations can help you:

  • How long is the meeting and how much time is the check-in worth to you?
  • In what larger context is the meeting, what has happened so far or is coming up for the participants?
  • What atmosphere do you want to create? Focused? Connecting? Casual?
  • How can the check-in method support the meaning and further content of the meeting?

#2 Find the right check-in question

Which question fits best for the meeting? Here is a selection of our favorites for inspiration:

  • You want to emotionally pick up the group
    • "What would have to happen today for this to be a perfect day?"
    • "On a scale of 1 to 10: How well can you concentrate right now?"
    • "How are you feeling? Describe your mood as a weather report."
    • "What motivated you to get up today?"
  • You want to establish a content reference
    • "What should we pay particular attention to in today's meeting?"
    • "Name one thing you want to contribute to the success of today's meeting."
    • "Describe our group with a metaphor."
    • "What excites you about this project?"
  • You want to get to know the participants better. The icebreaker questions help for this.
    • "What is the best advice you've ever heard?"
    • "If you had a restaurant, what food would you serve there?"
    • "What superpower would you like to have?"
    • "What did you spend your pocket money on as a child?"

PS: There is no right or wrong. Just a lot of possibilities that fit different situations, meetings and participants. Because: Variation is the key to success.

The check-in question is a fixed part of our meeting notes template in Notion.

This is what our meeting notes template looks like. Check-in and drivers (why we hold the meeting) are a fixed part of our templates. You can find more about Notion templates in

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Our tip: A sound or a movement is also an answer! Participants can answer questions such as "what mood are you in right now?" also with a cheer, a sigh or a laugh. Or react to "how well can you concentrate right now?" with hand signals, a shrug or eye roll.

Launch Check-in Tool

#3 Ask the check-in question

And now: Throw the check-in question into the room. Choose one person to start, or let the group decide spontaneously. Then it goes around in turn. All participants give an answer one after the other. The statements of the individual people do not have to be commented on, but simply listened to and accepted. After the check-in question, you dive into the points on the agenda as usual.

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Our tip: With many attendees, the check-in question can quickly take a lot of time. Therefore, time management is important here! This is cleverly achieved by introducing the question with "explain in one sentence...", "choose a suitable word...", "name three things", or especially for video conferences "answer with an emoji".

Don't underestimate the check-out

Do you know this situation? The meeting is over in terms of content but 2 people are still discussing something bilateral. The rest of the participants have already dived back into the laptop and the meeting is unnecessarily prolonged. A check out helps here. End the meeting officially to avoid unnecessarily prolonging the session.

The question "With what feeling do you leave this meeting" can also be very valuable in picking up the mood of the team and the motivation for the project.

Our experiences

Admittedly. At first we were somewhat critical. We asked ourselves: "Hm, isn't that too much 'feel me, feel me'?" But now we think: "What would we do without a check-in?" Because the tool is a simple way to improve meeting quality and has now simply become part of the meeting for us. That's why our tip: Just try it! Get used to it (easiest with a template for meeting notes), to consider the check-in as part of the meeting and to plan time for it from the outset.

Specify who is next in digital meetings.

Especially with virtual meetings, the check-in is all the more valuable: It forms the starting shot and gets everyone and every person to the camera and microphone. As a facilitator, you know that all attendees are ready for the meeting and that the technology is working. Important: If you are leading the meeting, you should always determine who speaks next. This saves time and brings structure to the meeting. Because in the virtual room - unlike at a meeting at a table - you can't just go around.

Icebreaker questions to get to know each other

There are many ways to use icebreaker questions. Be it at a shared flat party, dinner with friends or a date. They help to break the ice and learn funny details about those present. I myself have already used our check-in tool at a shared flat party. Initially still with the tool and afterwards the questions arose automatically from those present.

Final thoughts

The check-in method helps our team to understand each other better, get to know each other and have more efficient meetings. If a person is having a bad day, the other team members know that it's nothing personal or they can support the person.

https://checkin.notioneers.eu

Our Check-In-Tool helps you find questions for your meeting.

Launch Check-in Tool

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Beli Löw

Beli is an IT project manager, tool enthusiast, entrepreneur and has organized his whole life with Notion. His news sources are release notes from tools. There is (almost) no feature or shortcut that he does not know.

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