Are you tired of being asked cheesy icebreakers or emotionally unintelligent questions about your mood at the beginning of meetings? To get the pulse on how your teammates’ work is going, you’ve got to have the proper check-in questions for meetings to identify potential blockers. These seven empathetic check-in questions for meetings can take the first few minutes from tedious to insightful.

1. What’s my biggest insight so far today?

An excellent way to start your meeting with an engrossing topic is to discuss your team’s latest insights. Insights can be big or small and can get teammates into the mindset of their coworkers by painting pictures of what their values are for the week. They could have realized a more efficient way to gain credit card points, or it could be a more individualized reflection on their behaviors or interactions. Whatever it is, their insight could inform you more about their mood, mindset, and goals for the day.

2. What are you doing today that wasn’t planned?

Check-in questions for meetings can often feel a little more like middle school icebreakers than mature exchanges of feelings, thoughts, and occasions – so it’s important to create queries that facilitate the balance between professional and personal. Asking about an unplanned event is a great way to get a sense of someone’s workload, and furthermore, their mood. It’s also a method to determine how they tolerate uncertainty and if they’re coping differently than they usually do in the face of adversity.

3. Name one thing you need to feel more supported.

Of all the check-in questions for meetings, this one can end up being one of the most delicate, as support can be a very personal topic. Teammates could provide a silly answer, like “a back brace would make me feel more supported,” or a serious answer, like “I need someone to help me with this project.” But no matter their answer, you can gauge if your teammate is in a tough spot, and you can offer the appropriate aid.

4. Do you need to get anything off your chest to be present in this meeting?

Often, we can go into meetings distracted, unaware, or just checked out. With this question, you can give your teammates the room to talk about something that’s taking up their mental space, whether it’s about their child’s daycare, the latest COVID variant, or a deadline they think they’ll have trouble meeting. If you’re empathetic and open to processing things, you can use this as an opportunity to connect with your team. Maybe you might even bond over the same anxieties and be able to work through them as a unit.

5. What part of this meeting is the most important to you?

Being honest is the key to fostering a good relationship with your team, and there’s no better way to build an honest environment than addressing your personal stake in the meeting. You can then prioritize and focus your energies on the particular portion of the meeting that everyone sees as valuable. This question also holds all team members accountable – even if there’s a part of the meeting that you’re not especially interested in, a segment you’d typically use to check your email or messaging apps, you’ll be able to be more aware of your shortened attention span.

6. What’s your measure of success today?

Another productive way to gauge the status of your team’s motivation is to get a sense of what their measure of success is. Success doesn’t have to be a static, grandiose ideal, and for many, each day is different – some days, getting out of bed is where the bar is set, and other days, running a 5K is the least of your accomplishments. Learning about someone’s measure of success can tell you more about what they’re up for that day and if tasks or assignments can be shifted around to help burned-out teammates recharge and to help inspired teammates reach their goals.

7. What have you changed your mind about in the past 6 months?

As teams evolve working together, a great check-in question entices a conversation about the lessons learned during a project or a particular period of time. People might have created new bonds or discovered new skills and even blocks about one another. This question can also reveal how flexible your team is and how are they adapting and adjusting to one another and to the company’s culture.

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