Performing proper check-ins and check-outs during CuriousWorks workshops is an important part of our facilitation process.

Checking in with Check-Ins

Before a workshop or meeting properly starts, after an acknowledgement of country, I always like to perform a check-in with the folks in the room. 

Checking in is really simple. It’s just asking every person (including yourself) to share how they are right now.

No one has to go into detail or share anything you’re uncomfortable with; it can be as simple as saying:

  • I’m a little tired today; I didn’t sleep well last night
  • I’ve actually feeling a little nervous because I don’t know what to expect from this
  • I’ve been kind of distracted all day, but I’ve been looking forward to this, so I’ll do my best to focus.

In many ways, a check-in is a nice quick moment for some reflection and self-awareness so you’re better able to bring your full self to whatever you’re doing.

The key to any good check-in is to genuinely listen and take note of what people are saying. If everyone is really tired and drained because of the state of the world, maybe plan a break for the workshop sooner rather than later. If people have been kind of scattered and distracted, maybe move activities around so people are more ready to focus during the second half of the workshop or meeting. Even just acknowledging, hey, I hear people aren’t feeling great right now, and then being understanding when people may not contribute as much as you’d like them to, makes a difference.

If you do a check-in and just barrel forward afterwards without considering other people, then people tend to feel unheard, they’re unlikely to share how they honestly feel, and it’s not helping them do their best work. Your job as a facilitator includes holding space and taking care of the folks around you during your facilitation time.

…And then a Check Out

Afterwards, everyone does a ‘check out’ to close the meeting. This tends to get overlooked, even when someone performs an initial check-in, which is a shame. You can use it to see how people feel about what’s just happened in the workshop or meeting; if they’re still feeling nervous, or excited, or stressed.

If you’ve had a really long or emotionally tiring workshop, you can check out by asking folks what they’re planning to do to take care of themselves afterwards. It’s also a good opportunity to hear if maybe anyone needs to be followed up independently afterwards.

Check-ins and check-outs in corporate spaces are mostly seen as tools for productivity, but as an artist and community worker, I like it best as a way to remember that the people you’re working with are full humans with lives outside of what you’re doing. Done well, it’s an easy tool to show care for the folks around you.

Toolkit Entry by Miranda Aguilar

Zoom screenshot from a Tradition and Me Workshop facilitated by Miranda Aguilar and Andrea Lim for the Codebreakers