This account of practice is about starting action learning set meetings. It focuses on a process sometimes known as the ‘check-in'. The paper is based upon the experience of one of the authors (Mark). It raises questions about the contribution of the check-in to an action learning set meeting and whether the checking-in process has a role in extending the ethos of action learning to other social situations. The paper concludes that the check-in serves four main roles: personal contextualisation, helping set members to step out of their professional roles, as an orientation ritual and as a means of enhancing empathy. It also concludes that checking in has a potential contribution to make to other forms of meetings and this contribution may be relevant to the broader action learning community.