The 25 most popular icebreaker questions based on four years of data

If you need a get-to-know-you question for team-building at work that isn’t trite and terrible, here are 25 to try out…

Claire Lew
Jan 23, 2018 · 7 min read

If you winced at the word, “icebreaker,” I don’t blame you. Get-to-know-you questions and games tend to feel cheesy. We’ve all been victim to a terribly trite icebreaker with coworkers that made us roll our eyes. I know I have.

However reluctantly, you may have realized that you need to break the ice at work. A new employee just joined your team, and you want to make sure they feel welcome. Or, you need to find a way to warm up a conference call between remote team members, and ask some get-to-know you questions for team-building.

After all, it’s always hard to work well with folks you don’t have a rapport with (not to mention, it’s less fun). Trust is the oil of the machine in the team. The more you have of it, the more things run smoothly. And the key to building trust within your team is to ask questions that help everyone get to know each other.

Given this, at Know Your Team, we put a lot of thought (over four years worth of research and fine-tuning!) into crafting get-to-know-you questions that would be as non-cheesy as possible, and elicit meaningful and memorable responses from the team. I get emails all the time from CEOs who’ll tell me, “Wow, Claire, I had no idea this question would get such a reaction from our team.”

Among the hundreds of get-to-know-you questions our software has, I wanted to share with you the top twenty-five…


#1: What was your first job?

#2: Have you ever met anyone famous?

#3: What are you reading right now?

#4: If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?

#5: Who’s someone you really admire?

#6: Seen any good movies lately you’d recommend?

#7: Got any favorite quotes?

#8: Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?

#9: What was your favorite band 10 years ago?

#10: What’s your earliest memory?

#11: Been anywhere recently for the first time?

#12: What’s your favorite family tradition?

#13: Who had the most influence on you growing up?

#14: What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

#15: What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

#16: Seen anything lately that made you smile?

#17: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

#18: Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?

#19: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

#20: How do you like your eggs?

#21: Do you have a favorite charity you wish more people knew about?

#22: Got any phobias you’d like to break?

#23: Have you returned anything you’ve purchased recently? Why?

#24: Do you collect anything?

#25: What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

I’ve used these questions to get to know a new employee, kick-off group meetings for boards I sit on, and even in one-on-one coffee meetings when I’m meeting someone for the first time. Give ’em a shot. Think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.



P.S.: If you did indeed enjoy this piece, please feel free to share + give it ❤️ so others can find it too. Thanks 😊 (And you can always say hi at @clairejlew.)

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

Claire Lew

Written by

CEO of Know Your Team (http://knowyourteam.com). My life’s mission is to help people become happier at work.

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

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