Open your meeting with a Check-in. This is a really effective method to bring everyone into the meeting to get them mentally present and ready to start. This space creates knowledge and insight about each other and perhaps what else might be here. For example:
Tell us about your shoes?
Take 30 seconds to a minute to tell us about the shoes you are wearing.
“I’m often wearing a pair of shoes found for me by my neighbor Frank, a world class charity-store shopper who occasionally finds and brings me shoes in my large size, 15 US, 49 EU.”
If you were a weather system what would your check-in be? Let’s hear a brief report from each person.
“This is Simon, and I am sunny,” “This is <name>, and I am cloudy,” etc.
What’s in your wallet?
Most of us carry around a personal artifact in our wallets and purses. What would you like to share with the rest of us and what is the back story? Not having a personal artifact to share is OK too, there is still likely a story about why that is so.
Lots of topics lend themselves to check-ins; animals, food, colors, plants, the possibilities are endless. It works with distributed or co-located teams. Allow time to debrief what emerges. Ask how this information is useful?