When you hold a leadership position, you’re constantly faced with competing priorities. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to connect with your teammates and employees. For this reason, recurring meeting check-ins are a must. Checking in frequently allows you to get status updates, offer feedback, provide coaching and mentorship opportunities, and address any questions or concerns your employees may have. In addition, meeting check-ins pose an excellent opportunity to problem solve and help your teammates with any hurdles that may be hindering their success.
In this article, we’ll define meeting check-ins, cover their importance, and list 8 tips and tricks that you can leverage to host effective meeting check-ins moving forward.
- What is a meeting check-in?
- Why you should have meeting check-ins
- 8 efficient meeting check-in tips
- What to include in a check-in meeting
- How to ask for a meeting check-in
What is a meeting check-in?
A meeting check-in is a technique that is used to break down barriers and foster communication. Often used at the beginning of a meeting, a meeting check-in gives everyone in attendance the opportunity to speak, ask questions, and survey the group’s current status. In essence, a meeting check-in should be used to gauge how those in attendance are doing.
Meeting check-ins are an effective way for teams to meet and reflect on their past activities, review current projects, and discuss future goals and plans. A properly prepared check-in meeting offers many benefits—like better productivity, communication, transparency, and working relationships.
Why you should have meeting check-ins
Meeting check-ins help build empathy in an environment that otherwise focuses on strictly professional relationships. These interactions provide teammates with the opportunity to check in with one another and learn how everyone is doing. These interactions are ideal if you work remotely and don’t frequently have the opportunity to check in and get to know one another beyond work.
Run productive check-ins
Level up your check-ins to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!
8 efficient meeting check-in tips
- Decide why you want to have check-in meetings
- Choose the frequency of your meetings
- Have a collaborative meeting agenda
- Focus on psychological safety
- Practice active listening
- Try asynchronous check-ins
- Seek feedback
- Ask questions
1Decide why you want to have check-in meetings
If you don’t know why you’re meeting, then what’s the point of meeting at all? If you notice you’re meeting week after week without intention, you’re not only wasting your time but also everyone else’s. Determining the why behind a meeting is incredibly important for several reasons. Not only will it help you craft the perfect meeting agenda, but it will also ensure meeting attendees have all the information necessary to prepare for the meeting. Defining and clearly stating the purpose of your meeting will ensure everyone is on the same page from start to finish.
2Choose the frequency of your meetings
A major factor to consider when scheduling meeting check-ins is frequency. If you nail down your meeting frequency, you and other attendees will know what to expect and be able to plan accordingly. Consider choosing the same day and time every month. If you meet on the first Thursday of every month, everyone will know what to expect and will be able to prioritize this meeting. If you’re a people manager and you fail to meet with your direct reports regularly, you may give off the wrong impression or make them feel as though they aren’t supported.
3Have a collaborative meeting agenda
Creating a collaborative meeting agenda with Fellow is an excellent way to align meeting attendees before the meeting. If you’re scheduling a check-in meeting, it shouldn’t just be about you. Allowing the other attendee to collaborate on the meeting agenda will ensure they’ve had an equal opportunity to contribute to the meeting. Encouraging them to add to the meeting agenda before the meeting will help create an open line of communication that fosters trust and transparency.
Pro tip: Collaborate on meeting agendas without leaving your video call! Use Fellow’s Google Meet extension and bring Fellow meeting agendas and notes into Google Meet automatically.
4Focus on psychological safety
If you want to host check-ins during which your teammates feel comfortable speaking what’s on their minds, it’s important to focus on psychological safety. A psychologically safe work environment refers to an environment in which employees feel comfortable contributing and speaking their truth. Employees who feel psychologically safe also feel supported, valued, and understood. They don’t fear that they can’t speak up, and they aren’t worried that they’ll suffer any consequences for being themselves. Without psychological safety, employees won’t come forward or open up in a way that’s necessary to build trust and strong working relationships.
5Practice active listening
Being an active listener is essential for hosting effective meeting check-ins. When you practice active listening with a member of your team during a meeting check-in, you’re demonstrating respect and helping to build trust and rapport. This lets other members of your team know you prioritize their well-being and listen intently when they have questions or concerns.
Practicing active listening is easier than you may think. It can be done by:
- Paraphrasing the speaker’s message but refraining from interruption
- Expressing interest in the speaker’s message by displaying nonverbal involvement
- Asking questions that encourage the speaker to elaborate on their beliefs or feelings
6Try asynchronous check-ins
It can be difficult to schedule a synchronous check-in, especially when working remotely with peers or employees who work in different time zones. Conducting meeting check-ins asynchronously means whoever is involved can provide their updates whenever they see fit as opposed to meeting in real time when it may be an inconvenience. Scheduling asynchronous check-ins is a great way to catch up and update each other without disrupting anyone’s time. When it becomes second nature, you can create a process that allows your teammates to share their updates asynchronously to avoid synchronous meeting check-ins that take more time and effort.
Pro tip: Fellow is the asynchronous meeting software that empowers managers and their teams to:
- Collaborate on meeting agendas and talking points
- Save templates and agendas for recurring meetings
- Assign clear action items and takeaways for every meeting
- Request feedback from meeting attendees
The easiest way to improve is to seek feedback. If you’ve been wondering how to host more effective meeting check-ins, ask your teammates. As a manager, you should feel comfortable and confident enough to ask for feedback and seek insights from your teammates, especially when it comes to improving an experience that you all share. The insights you gain from receiving feedback may help you make positive changes that lead to quicker, more productive meeting check-ins.
To streamline the process of giving and receiving feedback, you may want to consider leveraging a feedback tool like Fellow. Fellow enables your team to share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance so you can give and receive feedback as work happens and incorporate feedback into your team’s day-to-day experience.
Asking questions is an excellent way to spark a meaningful conversation. There’s nothing worse than meeting with a manager only to feel like you aren’t being heard. Asking questions during meeting check-ins is a great way to learn more about your peers while ensuring they feel heard and understood. If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with something simple. Asking a simple question like “how is your current project going?” or “what can I do to support you as we move into this new phase?” is an excellent way to ensure they feel heard and supported. For additional inspiration, check out these meeting check-in questions.
What to include in a check-in meeting
Icebreakers are great if you’re looking for a way to kick things off on a positive note. If you haven’t taken the time to get to know who you’re meeting with yet, starting with an icebreaker is an excellent way to make everyone feel comfortable and at ease.
Objectives and key results (OKRs) are incredibly important and must be tracked and discussed frequently. Using this meeting time to check in on OKRs is a great way to foster alignment and track success while ensuring your employees or peers are working towards shared goals.
Pro tip: Stay on top of your team’s goals by clearly recording, defining, and tracking the progress of your OKRs in Fellow’s Objectives tool. The best part? You can quickly review those objectives during your team meetings!
Brainstorming sessions are a great way to think outside the box while fostering meaningful conversations. If your direct report or a teammate has hit a roadblock, consider using this time to brainstorm solutions together. Not only will you help them succeed, but this time can also be used to strengthen your working relationship.
How to ask for a meeting check-in
1Manager to direct report
Hello, [direct reports name], I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week!
I wanted to take the time to check in and see how you’re doing. I would love to schedule a check-in next week where we can chat one-on-one about any hurdles you may be facing. Please have a look at my calendar and choose a time slot that works best for you.
I look forward to chatting soon.
2Direct report to manager
Hi there, [manager’s name], I appreciated the feedback you gave me during our last meeting, and I wanted to check in to see if it would be possible to conduct bi-weekly check-ins. I would love to be able to bounce ideas off you and gain your feedback.
I’m happy to work around your schedule and meet at your earliest convenience. Please let me know if this would be possible and what works best for you.
It’s time to host effective meeting check-ins
Congratulations, you officially have everything you need to host effective meeting check-ins moving forward! Don’t forget to check out the Fellow blog for more tips and tricks!