Self-Awareness Removes Distractions

What’s Got Your Attention?

Emotions play a key role in the workplace–they can lubricate or harm collaboration. A check-in brings attention to what’s keep each team member busy, so they can put those emotions aside and focus on working together.


Prior to a regular meeting, practice a check-in round. The facilitator asks “What’s got your attention?” Each participant, one-at-a-time, provides their answer. The facilitator goes last.

The purpose is to understand what keeps people worried, preoccupied or distracted. It can be too many projects on their plate, problems at home, something personal, or sports game. It’s personal–each person shares what matters to them. There’s no judging–the idea is to provide a safe space.

How to Facilitate a Check-In Round

One at a time, each participant answers the question. The rest listen, no one interrupts or asks follow-up questions. The purpose is not to create a dialogue. Each person has a moment to share and the rest pays full attention.

Check-ins are meant to provide a safe space where people are listened to. By understanding what’s keeping other people worried, or tense or excited, etc. we can better understand their reactions without making assumptions.

Some folks might seem disengaged because they are tired or how too many projects going on. Others might not be in a good mood or tense because they have personal issues. Understanding what’s going on, allows promotes understanding and patience.

Alternative Questions

What’s got your attention?

What keeps you awake at night?

How’s your day going so far?

note: experiment with different questions and see which one sticks.

Coaching Tips

Don’t push to share more than what they want.

Make sure people avoid interrupting or body language reactions that can make people feel judged or criticized.

Additionally, the facilitator can say “thank you” after each person shared their stuff.

Initially, it will take more time. People will feel intimidated or might share too many details. With practice, people will open up more and respond more to the point.

Additional Reading about Check-Ins at Meetings

How to Increase Focus at Your Meetings: Check-In Your Mindset

Your Emotional Culture Is Powerful — Just Listen