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Communication is key to teamwork...

...but if we aren't careful, we can lose the entire workday to seemingly-endless meetings with members of our team.

Check-in conversations are ideal for keeping coworkers and team members up to date and keeping everyone on task--without taking too much time.

Making check-in conversations a habit can greatly improve communication and productivity throughout your team.

What are check-in conversations?

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Check-in conversations are brief conversations with a team member or manager about:

  1. What we're working on at present

  2. Any challenges we're experiencing

  3. How we can best help one another

Keeping a check-in conversation friendly and focused on the three items above will ensure that team members share open communication.

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Check-in conversations help team members remain:

  • engaged

  • focused

  • open

  • collaborative

The value of check-in conversations

We know from publications like the Harvard Business Review that teams who engage in regular check-in conversations experience higher engagement at work.

Having frequent, lively check-in conversations can help turn an ordinary project into an extraordinary achievement of teamwork!

How to conduct check-in conversations

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There's one important rule to keep in mind: make your check-in conversations work for you!

The team members taking part in the conversation are free to suggest a time and place for the check-in that works for them. You can hold an effective, productive check-in over a cup of coffee... or on a brief walk outside... or in your office--anywhere you feel comfortable and focused.

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"Make your check-in conversations work for you."

Tips for successful check-in conversations:

  1. Come prepared. Make a note of your current projects and any challenges you may be facing.

  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Challenge yourselves to cover all three important topics in that time span.

  3. Ask questions. Check-ins help facilitate teamwork--so take advantage and enjoy some insight from the team!

Quiz

Do you recall the three topics you should focus on, during check-in conversations? Which of the following is NOT a topic to focus on during check-ins?

Where you'd like to eat lunch

How we can help one another

What you're working on at present

Any challenges you may be facing

Make check-in conversations a habit

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Having regular check-in conversations at least once per week encourages teamwork and increases engagement.

Schedule a few check-in conversations with your team members or manager, and determine how frequently you'd like to check-in. Some partnerships prefer to meet once per week, while others find it beneficial to meet more often--or even every day! Remember the most important rule: make your check-in conversations work for you!

After each check-in...

...be sure to make a note of what was discussed. This will help your next check-in conversation be even more productive.

Review the notes from your previous check-in and ask follow-up questions like:

  • "How have you been progressing, since then?"

  • "Did you try the strategy we discussed?"

  • "Since we last spoke, have things improved, or have they become more complicated?"

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Come prepared with your notes from your previous check-in conversation, when it's time for your next meeting.

Quiz

It's important to have check-in conversations...

once per month.

at a frequency that works for you.

once per week.

once per day.

Summary

To summarize, check-in conversations are brief conversations with a team member or manager about:

  1. What we're working on at present

  2. Any challenges we're experiencing

  3. How we can best help one another

It's important to keep these check-in conversations brief and to stay on topic. Remember: check-in conversations become more valuable when you make them a regular habit!

Challenge yourself to schedule a few check-in conversations with a team member or manager. Come prepared, stay focused, and enhance your teamwork and communication together!

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This Byte has been authored by

AL

Adam Langton

Writer, Actor