Emotional Check-in for Team Meetings

The image shows people with different emotions who are in a meeting. There is text: Want less conflicts? Just do this!

Try the Emotional Check-in exercise – if you want to better the team climate during your meetings!

How a meeting goes is very much connected to how it starts.
Are you and your team focused during meetings? Is everyone active and engaged during discussions? Are there people who often stay quiet? Is there a tendency where emotions to prevail? Do meetings lead to team conflicts?

You can initiate emotional check-in no matter the role you’re in – team member, team leader, decision-maker, or facilitator for example.


What is an Emotional Check-in?

Invite all participants in the meeting to share their current emotional state. You can start by sharing – your thoughts, concerns, or distractions.


When can you apply it?

This exercise can be applied in meetings when people have to work together and collaborate. For example:

  • retro’s
  • daily’s
  • when resolving conflicts
  • decision-making meetings
  • workshops
  • initial meeting of a newly formed team
  • 1:1’s

The exercise can be applied both as an opening and as a closing of the team discussion.
If you sense the climate is worsening during a meeting, you can initiate an Emotional Check-in during the discussion as well, or even express your own current emotional state if you think this could influence (positively) your teammates.

The Emotional Check-in can be used as an icebreaker at the beginning of a discussion when the participants don’t know each other well and have to collaborate on a project for the first time.

You can discuss the “results” or they can stay as a snapshot of the team’s emotional state.

Tip: Give freedom and allow participants to share as much as they feel comfortable with or even skip their turn if they’re not comfortable at all.


What are the advantages of the exercise?

The participants become more aware of their current emotional state and the state of others. They tend to be more focused and engaged during the discussion. The team climate grows to be more human as the participants feel more aware of each other.

This leads to building psychological safety in the team.

Bonus: Try this automated tool for your Emotional Check-in exercise!

This is a practical tool where everybody can choose from a wide range of emotions and select their current state. As a result, you get the current emotional state of each participant and an overview of the team’s state.

Before starting your next team meeting, take 10 for check-ins of the team!

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