71 Great Check-In Questions For Engaging Meetings
We often hear about how meetings should be trimmed and cut to ensure they are productive and have no wasted time. However, it’s important not to go overboard. Meetings are still human interactions and a great opportunity to better get to know the people we work with.
Check-in questions are arguably the most effective tool to this end, but they can be much more.
What is a check-in question?
Meeting check-in questions are quick questions we can ask at the start of a meeting before diving into the agenda and topics of the day.
Check-in questions help get the conversation started, get all participants on the right wavelength, and are essential to gauge attendees’ feelings and expectations.
Different meetings and projects might require different check-in questions. In some cases, you might be looking to get a feel for the feelings of individual team members, while in others, you might be looking to validate whether previously agreed action items have been completed or not.
Whatever the type of meeting, check-in questions are always a good idea and a great starting point for any meeting agenda.
Why You Need Check-In Questions
Several reasons make check-in questions a fundamental tool in your meeting management toolbox. Here are some of the reasons that might benefit you.
They can reset the vibe in the room
People come into meetings just having focused on other tasks, deep work, or even worse, other meetings. In scenarios like these, it’s essential to reset the vibe so that everyone in the room, be it virtual or on-site, can refocus on the tasks at hand.
They Encourage participation
Check-in meeting questions can be a great tool to ensure every voice is heard and participants feel encouraged to join in. This can be especially useful during virtual meetings or ones in which attendees aren’t too familiar with each other.
They help to keep attendees’ needs in mind
In certain situations, the right check-in questions can help issues, concerns or priorities emerge that might not have been considered when planning the meeting. Getting input on these details can help reshuffle the agenda or the meeting priorities to match attendees’ needs and expectations.
They show you care
In some contexts, opening a meeting with a few check-in questions can be a great way to build rapport and show you care. This is especially true for mentors or when having 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports.
They help track progress
Check-in questions are often underestimated as a way to ensure everyone in the call is quickly and efficiently updated on project progress.
They help build connections
Check-in questions can be the ideal way to build connections between colleagues and team members quickly. What better way to kick off a new project than to discover people in the team share your same passions and interests?
What Makes Great Check-In Questions?
There is no one recipe for great questions to ask at the start of your meetings. What questions are most appropriate will depend on many variables:
- Are you working with remote teams, or is everyone in the room?
- Do Team members discuss their personal life freely, or is this a purely professional setting?
- Are some attendees meeting for the first time, or is the group well established?
These are just a few questions you might want to ask yourself before deciding what questions work for your team. At the same time, there is no need to overthink things, and check-in questions can be fun to experiment with. You can even open the decision to the team and have attendees take turns choosing a question.
But enough introduction! We prepared a list of check-in questions for meetings we find fun and exciting.
The best check-in questions by meeting type
Icebreaker questions for work
Icebreaker questions are the most versatile check-in meeting questions. They can work for any meeting, from project management follow-ups, to update meetings that usually have very low employee engagement, to creative brainstorming sessions.
While they are easy to come up with, we suggest you keep a list of your favorite ones or the ones you found most effective, as they can come in handy even when not planned.
Here are some of what we consider to best icebreaker questions you can ask in virtually any scenario:
- What superpower do you consider the most useful/useless?
- What’s the most binge-worthy tv show?
- What’s your favorite karaoke song?
- Can you share the best piece of advice you have ever received?
- What’s the last song you listened to, and where were you?
- What’s your favorite podcast, and why?
- You’ve been designated team chef for the day. What’s on the menu?
- What emoji best represents you right now?
- If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What would your first trip be if you had access to a time machine?
- What’s your favorite theme song?
- What’s your favorite way to spend time when on vacation?
- What’s a productivity tool you cannot live without?
- What’s the funniest memory from high school you can share?
- If you could pick a fictional character as a teammate, who would it be, and why?
- What’s a fashion trend you cannot stand/love?
- Would you rather... (this one is for you to complete)
1-on-1 meeting questions
As we mentioned earlier, the right questions can help build rapport and make people feel they are cared for, but also bring work-related issues or work-life balance concerns to light. 1-on-1 meetings are the perfect setting for questions like these:
- What’s something you’ve recently learned about yourself?
- What’s something you never got around to doing?
- What is something that makes you proud?
- What have been the most exciting aspects of work recently?
- What was the biggest lesson you learned since our last check-in?
- How are you working towards improving yourself?
- How would you like your role to develop in the short, medium and long term?
- How can we help you grow?
- What tools do you feel you are missing to do your work well?
- What quick wins would you go for if you were in charge of the team?
- How would you describe your current mindset?
- When do you feel the most/least productive?
- What are three things you feel very positive/negative about
- How do you feel about the team?
- What do you think about our company culture?
- How would you improve our company culture?
- Do you feel you have the support you need?
- Are you happy in your current position?
- How do you feel about your current career path?
- What could be improved about your role?
Questions for team meetings
Team meetings are an excellent opportunity to work on building tighter bonds between people that often work together. Celebrating team wins and milestones are always valuable tools to create deep connections that make teamwork efficient. Still, well-thought check-in questions can be an equally important asset.
Here are our favorite team-building questions:
- What’s the most significant issue affecting the team right now?
- Who is the teammate you would like to show appreciation for today?
- What do we do best?
- What don’t we do that well?
- What would you like to learn from another team member?
- Give one suggestion that will help improve our communication
- What's one example of recent improvements that worked?
- What are the most significant bottlenecks in your work processes?
- What is your “work superpower“?
- What team-building activities would you like to do?
- How can we be more ready for unexpected disruptions?
- How can we better show appreciation for each other?
Check-In Questions for Daily Stand-Ups
Similar to team meetings in many ways, daily stand-ups are unique in their frequent recurrence, short duration, and focus on tasks and practicalities. Given their brief nature, the best check-in questions for meetings like these might be ones that relate to the project or tasks the team is working on, but they can also be useful to gauge how everyone is feeling at the moment.
- How are you going to spend your lunch break today?
- What are you looking forward to at the end of the workday?
- How can the team help you today?
- What will you be focusing on today?
- What are you excited about today?
- What will help you focus today?
- How will you end the day better than you started it?
- What challenges will you face today?
- What is your current workload?
- What is your priority for today?
- What self-care actions will you do today?
Check-in questions specific to remote work meetings
While most questions can be used effectively for all meetings, some might work best for remote calls specifically, so here’s a list of fun icebreaker questions to ensure your Zoom calls are covered.
- Tell us about what’s in the background of your video.
- What’s perfectly normal where you live but might be considered weird in other places?
- What’s the view from outside your window?
- What do you do to separate work from personal time?
- What’s the biggest benefit of WFH to you?
- What do you miss about the office?
- What’s your go-to WFH snack?
- What are you missing in your current work setup?
- Where are you right now?
- What is your home desk like?
- What’s a hobby you were able to pick up, thanks to WFH?
Become an employee engagement wizard with Roots
Check-in questions for meetings are a small but fundamental tool to ensure you know your employees and teammates better, and can build the best environment for them to thrive in, but they are just one tool out of many.
At Roots, we believe we do our best work when we are happy, engaged, and encouraged to communicate freely, and we build our products based on this belief.
With Connections by Roots, you can bring the positive effects of check-in questions outside of meetings with virtual watercooler topics, interest groups, and roulette-style meetups that will help people get to know each other better and engage more.
Pair that with our Pulse Surveys tool to ensure you always know what your employees are passionate about and provide them with the time and place to talk about it.
It’s the ultimate employee engagement combo, all from the comfort of your Slack workspace!
Learn more about Roots and our other products, and get started today!