Check-in activities gather information such as how the participants feel towards the meeting, how they felt regarding the given context. It is a good next step after setting the context and reading the prime directive, specially as it narrows down the themes that will be discussed after.
Another benefit of doing a check-in is that it helps people to put aside their concerns and then focus on the meeting at hand. Depending on the activity, it also works for helping participants to put aside their judgements – at least for the duration of the meeting.
These are usually short activities. Think of it as a quick bite to open everyone’s appetite for the main course. It gives the participants a feeling for the next activity, while giving you feedback about participants engagement.
Check out the Fun Retrospective Check-in Activities