Despite its reputation, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people.
According to Brian Scudamore, Founder and CEO of O2E Brand, “it builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.”
Team building exercises help your team members bond and get to know each other. This is important because one of the best ways to foster psychological safety and a positive work environment is for team members to trust one another. And how do you trust somebody you don’t know!?
This is especially important for companies who are considering moving to remote or hybrid workspaces as the distance between coworkers is increased.
“Even with video conferencing that allows for reading body language and facial expressions, the concern is that virtual colleagues are less likely to become close friends because their face-to-face interactions are less frequent,”– Prithwiraji (Raj) Choudhury, the Lumry Family Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School.
Why are team-building questions important?
Team building questions are important for a host of reasons. They help colleagues get to know each other, they foster trust in teams, they foster psychological safety, and the list could go on forever. But for now, let’s focus on these three reasons…
1 They help colleagues get to know each other
Getting to know somebody can be difficult when you don’t know where to start. Who initiates the conversation? What do you say?
For many reasons, these first interactions can sometimes be a little awkward for both people. Therefore, encouraging colleagues to participate in team-building questions will take the pressure off one person initiating the conversation and guide the conversation.
2 They foster trust in teams
In order to have good teamwork, you need to be able to trust your team members. Therefore, fostering trust in coworkers is important.
“By fostering organizational trust, you can increase employees’ productivity and energy levels, improve collaboration, and cultivate a happier, more loyal workforce.”– Paul J. Zak
3 They foster psychological safety
Providing your employees with a psychologically safe environment is very important and implementing team-building questions will help you achieve this.
“Psychological safety means you have a culture where people feel comfortable speaking up, they feel comfortable being themselves, they don’t worry that if they suggest an idea, or maybe if they disagree with you that they will get that there will be backlash. And so they feel safe coming into the workplace.”
– Alice Ko
Use a meeting management tool like Fellow to schedule a team-building activity and have everyone collaborate on the agenda with questions they want to ask the attendees!
100+ team building questions to build trust and personal connection
Let’s explore 100+ team-building questions to help your colleagues get to know each other better, build trust in your team, and foster psychological safety…
- Personal ice breakers
- Music, books, and/or movies
- Travel and adventure
- Food and/or drinks
- “This or that”
1 Personal ice breakers
Unlike other icebreakers, personal ice breakers encourage coworkers to know each other on a deeper level. These types of questions help colleagues go beyond typical “office” talk and learn more personal things about their coworkers. This may include things such as hobbies, personal interests, and background information.
These questions are also important because they allow team members to feel more comfortable and connected to their team members. If comfortable, team members can be vulnerable and share fun, yet personal things about themself.
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
- What does your perfect day off look like?
- What do you like to do on the weekend?
- Where were you born?
- How many places have you lived?
- Where did you go to school?
- What did you study at school?
- How big is your family?
- Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?
- What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
- Do you have any secret talents?
- Are you more of a morning person or a night owl?
- What is your zodiac sign?
- What is your favourite and least favourite chore?
2 Questions about music, books, and/or movies
The best way to bond with somebody is by finding a common interest, and asking team members questions about their taste in music, books, and movies is a great place to start. Also, if you find a common interest in one of those things, you have a conversation started for future interactions.
However, we don’t always have the same interests as our colleagues. If you don’t find a common interest in the same music, books, or movies, don’t panic. This will still encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and learn about others’ interests. For example, while you may be interested in rom-com movies, your co-worker may love horror movies. Although this isn’t necessarily a common interest, you are still finding things to talk about and learning about the other person.
- Who is your favourite artist?
- Who is your favourite band?
- What is your favourite genre of music?
- What is your favourite song?
- How often do you listen to music?
- Do you enjoy listening to music?
- Do you play any instruments?
- What is your favourite movie?
- What is your favourite movie genre?
- Who is your favourite actress/actor?
- What is your favourite book?
- What is your favourite book genre?
- How often do you read?
- Who is your favourite author?
- What is your favourite reality tv show?
3 Travel and adventure-related team building questions
Traveling is an easy topic to bond over as almost everyone has either traveled before or has travel goals. Therefore, asking your coworkers questions about travel is a great conversation starter and a great way to bond.
For those who either aren’t into traveling or don’t want to talk about travel, you can ask them adventure-related questions. Although these questions can relate to extraordinary adventures like climbing Mount Everest, they can also relate to less extreme adventures like hiking through a local park or visiting a local beach. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new hiking partner!
- Do you travel a lot?
- Do you like to travel?
- Where have you travelled to?
- Of everywhere you’ve travelled, which place was your favourite?
- What is your dream vacation?
- Do you prefer spontaneous or planned adventures?
- What is your preferred method of travel? (Ex, a plane, train, bus, car, etc.)
- Do you prefer to travel alone or with somebody?
- Who is your favourite person to travel with?
- Do you prefer beach vacations or adventurous vacations?
- Where would you recommend travelling to?
- If you could travel more, would you?
- Have you ever been on a cruise? If not, would you like to go on a cruise?
- What are the top-5 places you want to visit?
- Where is one place you would never want to visit?
4 History-themed team building questions
Nothing says bonding like getting to know somebody’s past. History-related questions are a great way to get to know more about somebody’s past and what makes them the person they are today. These can range from more personal questions, like how old you were when you moved out, to more general questions, like which historical figure would you want to meet.
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would you meet?
- If you could live in another generation, which one would you choose?
- If you had a time machine, would you travel to the past or future? What would you do there?
- If you had a time machine, which of your ancestors would you want to meet?
- If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your past?
- What did you spend your first paycheck on?
- How old were you when you bought your first car?
- What was your first car?
- How old were you when you moved out?
- How long have you been married? (If the person is married)
- If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
- If you could go back in time, which famous discovery would you want to discover?
- If you could go back in time, which famous invention would you want to invent? (Ex, the telephone)
- What is one of your favourite memories from your childhood?
- What is one of your funniest memories?
5 Icebreakers about food and/or drinks
Questions related to food and drinks are a great way to get to know somebody without asking them personal questions. These types of questions are good for first interactions as they don’t require the person to get deep and personal with a stranger.
Food and drink-related questions are also great questions to break the ice because you are almost guaranteed that you will find at least one common similarity! A bonus to asking these questions is that you might even find a new place to try on your next date night or night out with friends!
- What is your favourite sit-down restaurant?
- What is your favourite fast-food restaurant?
- What is your least favourite restaurant?
- What is your favourite food?
- What is your least favourite food?
- What is your perfect dinner?
- What is your perfect lunch?
- What is your perfect breakfast?
- What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?
- What is your favourite alcoholic drink? (if you drink alcohol)
- What is your go-to snack?
- What is one food or drink you couldn’t live without?
- What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try (food or drink)?
- Do you have any allergies?
- Do you prefer ordering in or eating out?
6 “This or that” ice breakers
For those of us who are more reserved, and dare I say shy, coming up with answers on the spot can be nerve-racking. Therefore, asking “this or that” questions are a great way for your coworkers to feel more comfortable answering questions and do not require them to share any personal information.
Another great benefit of “this or that” questions is that they provide colleagues with an opportunity to ask more funny, lighthearted questions. These questions often make coworkers laugh, which is one of the best ways to break the ice and bond with somebody!
“Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.”– Alison Beard
- Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
- Would you rather be able to teleport or time travel?
- Would you rather go to space or get to travel the world for free for a year?
- Would you rather be a superhero or have your dream job?
- Would you rather always be hot or always be cold?
- Would you rather have 10 kids or 0 kids?
- Would you rather be able to only drink tea or only drink coffee for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather be able to only eat vegetables or fruit for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather lose your taste or your smell?
- Would you rather only be able to watch horror movies or romantic movies for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather never sleep again or always have nightmares when you sleep?
- Would you rather live in the country or the city?
- Would you rather have extra toes or extra fingers?
- Would you rather win an Olympic gold medal or be the world’s best chef?
- Would you rather live somewhere that always rains or somewhere that always snows?
- Would you rather be a cat or a dog?
7 Work-related questions
Seeing that you are bonding with your colleagues, it is only expected that you will ask them work-related questions. Work-related questions help team members bond because they can relate to each other. For example, if you ask a stranger what their favourite project was at their job, you will have no idea what they are talking about. But, if you ask your colleague that same question, you will know what it is that they are talking about and relate to it better.
- What has been your favourite project to work on?
- What has been your least favourite project to work on?
- What is your favourite part about your job?
- What has been your least favourite part about your job?
- What energizes you at work?
- What de-energizes you at work?
- How long have you been working here?
- What advice would you give to someone who is starting the same job as yours?
- What are your work-related goals?
- How do you like to wind down after a long day at work?
- What does a typical workday look like for you?
- How do you find your workload?
- What have you learned at this company so far?
- What projects do you hope to take on in the future?
- Where in the company do you see yourself in 5 years?
Team building questions are extremely important, especially in this hybrid world we are now living in. The benefits of asking team-building questions are becoming greater as companies are finding new ways to get coworkers to bond.
Asking personal questions, music, book, and/or movie-related questions, travel and adventure-related questions, history-themed questions, food and drink-related questions, “this or that” questions, and work-related questions, team members can bond and break the ice to foster a more trusting environment.
“The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office.”– Brian Scudamore