Check in / Out

Description

One of the simplest most impactful exercises in a facilitators belt. Checking-in or checking-out is an easy yet effective way for a team to open or close a session symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, giving an opportunity to express a reflection or a feeling.

Instructions

👋 Checking-in

Bring the group together to stand or sit in a circle. Invite each person to share one by one. It’s up to you to choose the check in question or activity. You can choose something super quick one word or sentence, or make space for something more elaborate. Consider your instruction phrasing carefully here, Mischief Maker! e.g:

“In one word…”
“In two words…”
“In one sentence…”
“Think of three things…”
“Taking as much time as you need…”

You could ask them to check in with how they’re feeling, or to share reflection from the previous day, an attitude they want to bring into this session, or something playful like “the weather that represents my mood today.” Choose a check-in question based on the group and the purpose of the session.

One-by-one participants check-in, either in order around the circle or at random. Once every person has checked-in one time, check-in is over. You might like to summarize or comment on any patterns you noticed or reference key requests. 

👋 Checking-out

Similar to your check in, bring the group to stand or sit in a circle. Invite each person to share one thing they “check-out” with.
Again, this could be a feeling, a reflection experience, the most important thing they take with them. Just as before, here it’s up to you how creative or long you want this question or activity to be. Be sure to match your check-out question with the group and the purpose of the session.

Some inspo:
”What was your biggest takeaway from today's session? “
”What would you like to see more, or less of?”
”Show some appreciation to someone in this group who has inspired or supported you today”
”What next step do you plan to take?”

One-by-one participants check-out either in order around the circle or at random. Once every person has checked-out one time, check-out is over.

🌐 In an online setting

Unsurprisingly… the steps are exactly the same in person as online. The only tweaks are as follows:

  • In the place of ‘making a circle’ go on gallery view instead, so that everyone can see one another - creating an equal and inclusive space

  • If you’re short on time or have a bigger group, the chat function is your friend - ask a couple of people to share out loud and invite others to put their answers in the chat. Make sure to read the ones in chat out loud so people feel heard.

Top tip: Daresay and Tscheck.in to generate suitable or original check in questions for your session.

Notes

  • If you have a co-facilitator, whether online, offline or hybrid - appoint them to role model how it works, otherwise: set the example yourself.

  • Be a time pessimist. If you’re going to have every person share, be aware it will often take longer than you think. Consider how many minute each person will need, and how much time it takes to switch between each person

  • Considering the tip above, think about how you can intervene or speed things up if things are taking too long (in a way that matches your facilitation style)

  • Encourage everyone to have their camera on to increase human connection and engagement 

  • If you’re working in Microsoft Teams invite everyone to head into ‘team mode’ so they will be able to see more people at once 

  • Consider how you want to handle turn taking. As ‘who’s next in the circle’ isn’t clear, you should either call out people yourself, ask people to share at random or have each person nominate someone to go next after they have shared. 

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