30 Check-In Questions to Start Your Next Meeting
The first five minutes of a meeting can sometimes feel disorganized. As attendees trickle in, there may or may not be some stop-and-start small talk, but getting everyone to attention can be a little awkward. A trendy (and easy) tool to help everyone transition mentally: the check-in question. Setting aside the first few minutes of a meeting to check in with your colleagues can set the stage for a successful meeting by making everyone feel included, present, and connected.
How to Use Check-In Questions
So what do you actually ask? Check-in questions can range from ice-breakers to strictly work-related to personal. What kind of meeting you’re having—and what you want to achieve with the check-in—can help you determine the question itself.
To loosen up a group of people who don’t know each other well, a meeting leader might ask everyone to share their 5-to-9 skill (who knew Maya has a YouTube cooking show!). On the other hand, a manager conducting a 1:1 with a team member might show support by asking what the most challenging part of the week has been so far. (Ugh to software issues.)
What Are Some Good Check-In Questions?
There really are endless options depending on whether you want to keep it light and fun or have another objective in mind. We’ve rounded up a few in three categories of intention below: ones that help people get to know each other personally; those that help participants relate to each other through their current work-life experiences; and some that help you get right into the meeting topic. A few guidelines to consider when coming up with your own:
- Be universally safe and inclusive. Skip anything controversial, insensitive (duh), or too niche.
- Aim for reasonable answer length. You still have a meeting to get to, after all.
- Avoid tired clichés. No one wants to rack their brain for a “fun fact.”
Get started with some examples of good check-in questions for group meetings below.
To Engage People on a Personal Level
- What’s the best piece of media you’ve consumed this week?
- If you had to live in a different country, where would you live and why?
- Which reality TV show do you think you could win?
- What are you most excited for in the next month?
- If you were trapped on a deserted island, which three people would you want with you?
- Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
- What was your most recent “first”?
- What’s been your biggest personal win lately?
- If you had to collect something, what would it be?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
To Foster a Shared Sense of Work-Life Experience
- How busy has your week felt, on a scale of 1 to 10?
- What is a recent win you’ve had at work, big or small?
- What’s a challenge you’re facing at work right now?
- What’s something you want to learn more about at work?
- If you had to be in a different department, which one would you be in?
- What is a personal goal you have at work this year?
- Who has been your MVP at work lately?
- Which coworker would you like to interview about their work?
- What’s one thing you think is important for building a strong team?
- Do you have a method for approaching a new challenge at work?
To Transition Right Into the Meeting Topic
- What is exciting about this project for you?
- Does this project remind you of anything you’ve worked on in the past?
- What are your personal goals for this project?
- What is one way we can improve how we’re approaching this topic?
- As a team, is there anything we should start or stop doing in this project?
- What do you come into this meeting knowing about this effort?
- How would you measure the success of this initiative?
- Are you hitting any obstacles in your work in this area?
- What’s your favorite thing you’ve done on this project so far?
- What soft skills of yours do you think could be useful here?