40 Powerful Questions You Can Use in Facilitation to Get People to Open Up

Answers give you knowledge. Questions give you better intelligence. If you teach your kid that A is for apple, all he they know is A for apple. But if you ask them a question, they will also learn that A is for airplane, ant, alligator, axe, ambulance, accordion and abacus.

Problem solving does not lie much in getting the right answer but more in asking the right question. Click To Tweet

Getting people to open up is one of the most important skills in facilitation. Here are 40 questions I’ve used that I hope will be useful for you.

  1. If you could ask a single person one question and they had to answer truthfully, who and what would you ask?
  2. What is the meaning of life?
  3. What’s the thing you most want to do or achieve before you die?
  4. Who is your hero? What qualities make them your choice?
  5. Tell me a moment when you did something kind to others.
  6. Tell me a moment when you were most proud of yourself. Why?
  7. What is the most beautiful thing in the world? Why?
  8. What is the biggest challenge that you’ve overcome in life?
  9. What is the best childhood memory?
  10. What inspires you the most?
  11. Given your work so far, what do you feel best about?
  12. What are you most proud of about your work?
  13. Tell us a moment that you feel most embarrassed in life.
  14. What one memory instantly makes you smile?
  15. Can a society exist without law? Why or why not?
  16. What kind of day have you had so far?
  17. What’s one new interesting idea you’ve been thinking about lately?
  18. What does your ideal life look like?
  19. What is something that would offend you most?
  20. What is one thing that brings you energy and joy?
  21. What was the greatest day of your life?
  22. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
  23. What do you want your final words to be?
  24. What is missing in your life?
  25. If you could go back in time to 10 years ago, would would you do differently?
  26. If you know something wonderful was going to happen today, how would you feel?
  27. What am I grateful for in life?
  28. What would you do if you know you could not possibly fail?
  29. What’s something that overwhelms you?
  30. What’s the most memorable lesson you’ve learned from your parents?
  31. What words would you use to describe where your head is? And where your heart is?
  32. What would you need to include more of in your life?
  33. What would you need to have less of in your life?
  34. What is one interest of yours that others in the team might not know?
  35. What is your biggest failure in life?
  36. How have your priorities changed over time?
  37. What are you most proud of about your team/family?
  38. What is the most powerful/successful/spiritual/smartest/wisest person alive today? Why?
  39. When is it acceptable to disobey the law?
  40. If you were not to hold back in life, what would you be doing?

How can you use these questions in a meeting?

Here are two examples of how I’ve used them…

When I want people to open up and discuss a sensitive issue, I’d write them on a deck of cards and in the meeting, I’d ask them to pick up a card and answer the question on it. I’d do this multiple rounds until I observe that my participants are ready to dive in the difficult conversation.

I’d also use them for a check-in question and all of them answer the same question one by one.

Well, these are just two examples but there are, of course, other ways you can use them to help you run meetings effectively.

Different forms of answers to tap into their creativity

Obvious one is verbal and others include writing, drawing, acting out and even fantasizing it.

That’s all. What other questions would you like to add to the list?

If you would like to hire a facilitator to help you facilitate your important meeting or train your staff on facilitation skills, check out my facilitation services or, simply contact me – TelegramWhatsApp, or Messenger.

About the Author

Samphy is a facilitator, blogger, consultant and lifelong learner. His writing and ideas here focus around self-improvement, blogging and facilitation.