A moment of silence has been shown through neurological research to calm the brain waves of participants and to create a more unified “field” such that the group practicing that moment of silence before a meeting is more creative, unified, friendly and productive than a group which does not take the time to “tune in”.
Note that no particular skill is necessary (eg if some of the participants have never meditated or done some form of consciousness or mindfulness work the practice still creates a better group dynamic).
The Check-In which is we practice has the following characteristics:
- One person checks in at a time.
- No discussion or conversation is entered into. No questions. No comments. Certainly no debate.
- Generally, there is a time limit which can be as short as 30 seconds, depending on circumstances.
- The content of the check-in is whatever each participant wishes to express, especially if the content/sentiment expressed might have prevented that participant from being fully present for the proceedings.
And it serves the following purpose:
- At best, the check-in allows each attendee to “unload” whatever material might otherwise have been on the mind and distracting from the business of the meeting. It, therefore, creates an atmosphere of companionable sharing where each person is seen as an individual who has, almost inevitably, brought some “baggage” into the meeting but is willing to be vulnerable enough to make that invisible “baggage” visible by expressing something about it.
- It tends to create a harmony and understanding amongst participants. Each gets an insight into others’ “snapshot” of the moment. This often opens up the possibility that each person is treated with more respect and friendliness. It can also provide a better atmosphere in which feedback, critique or debate can be honest but not mean or hurtful.
The Check-Out takes the following form in general:
- One person does a check-out at a time.
- No discussion or conversation is entered into.
- Generally, there is a time limit. As short as 30 seconds can be sufficient, especially if the group has practice at check-ins and outs.
- The content of the check-out is whatever each participant wishes to express about the meeting itself or about the state of mind that the meeting leaves the participant in.
It serves the following purpose:
- The check-out often brings out what has been successful in the meeting, thus creating more harmony and more consciousness of a job well done.
- Sometimes check-outs are more critical and serve to reinforce what work remains to be done for the group to work together better.
- It also can highlight how many different perspectives there are on any topic. It is usually of huge benefit to any group to explore and expand upon perspectives.