Now that we are several weeks into the Covid-19 crisis, most of us have moved to managing our teams virtually. If you are conducting your team meetings on virtual video platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, or Gotomeeting, you might be looking for a meaningful way to start your meeting. If you would like to see my video about Check-ins that really check in, find it here.

Doing a virtual ice breaker or a check-in at the beginning of your meeting builds and protects a positive culture in your organization. Creating an opportunity for people to get to know each other, share, build trust, and build a positive, topic oriented atmosphere will not only help your meeting, but will positively impact your overall culture. Failing to pay attention to your employees need to connect will result in lower motivation, lower commitment, and lower productivity. When things get back to normal, and they will, people will remember how you made them feel. As Maya Angelo said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

There are several different kinds of Check-ins, which I will be sharing in upcoming posts, but the first kind I am covering connects to really finding out how your employees are doing in their new work world.

Here are 5 Check-ins that are great avenues for seeing how everyone is:

  1. Share a story. Go around the group and have each participant tell a story of something they are doing now that they haven’t done in a long while. I have heard stories about closets being cleaned and crafts being rediscovered.
  2. Dice Breakers (and dice debrief) shared by Michelle Cummings of Training Wheels. Roll virtual dice from sites like and have participants provide the number of answers on the die. For example, have them answer the number rolled for the things they are doing to stay sane while stuck in the house!
  3. Commonalities – Send participants into breakout rooms of two or three and have them find 10 things they have in common. When they come back to the group, they can share something unusual they learned about each other.
  4. Show and tell – Have participants reach for something interesting in their work space and share it.
  5. Sentence starters – share one of these sentence starters and have participants reflect for a minute, and then compete the sentence out loud to the group. Here are some fun starters:
  • I love it when…
  • I think I have the best…
  • My idea of beauty is…
  • The best way for me to relax is…
  • The funniest thing that ever happened to me was…
  • When I think of prunes…

These Check-ins are great to use at the beginning of the meeting, as energizing breaks during the meeting, or as check outs at the end. Any way you use them, it will bring fun and connection to your team.

I believe it is essential to start your virtual meetings with some sort of ice breaker to allow people an opportunity to connect and feel a part of the team. If you have spent time and focus building a culture of cohesion and positive engagement, don’t let this crisis completely undo your team development efforts.

If you would like to have more support with your virtual meeting skills and facilitation techniques, Connect with me at to discuss how I can help you and your team.

Stay safe and well and know we are still connected!


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