The One Word is a simple check-in activity that allows participants to share their feelings before getting into the data and details for the meeting itself. It is a good opening for a meeting as it acknowledges people’s feelings and gets them speaking from the very beginning.


Running the activity:

  1. Give each participant a pen and a sticky note.
  2. Ask them to describe their feelings (for the meeting context) in one word.
  3. Group the notes on an open canvas.
  4. Optionally, ask if someone wants to share more about their selected word.

“Please, describe how you feel in one word.”

This activity is described as the check-in activity by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen in the remarkable Agile Retrospectives book. It gets participants reflecting about the meeting’s context, bringing everyone to the retrospective mindset. It also invites everyone to speak, which fosters further participation in the activities to follow.


Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use a remote board of your choice.

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