Getting People to Open Up

Sometimes it’s hard to get people to open up in a group setting. In these situations, nothing proves more effective than a creative question.

“If you had to have the exact same meal for the next twelve months… what would you choose?”

It’s amazing how fun questions provoke people to open up.

These questions might simply begin with: “Lets go around the circle and each of us share…”

I’ve done it with teenagers in small group settings:

“Let’s go around the circle and each share our high and low of the week.”

“If you could repeat any day of your life, what would that be?”

“If you could go back in time to before you went to high school/junior high and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?”

I’ve done it with my own kids:  (15, 17 and 19)

“If you could go on vacation anywhere and bring just one person, where would you choose and who would you bring?”

“If you could have one superpower, what would you choose and what would you use it for?”

“What was the last thing you cried about?”

I’ve done it with adults at a board meeting or Bible study:

“Let’s go around the circle and each share your name and something about the shoes you’re wearing.”

“If you were stuck in an elevator for 24 hours with one person, who would you like that person to be?”

“Describe your most embarrassing moment.”

These little discussion questions seem to always bring a laugh and give everyone a little peak into each other’s lives.

What about you? What are some of your favorite questions to ask in these scenarios?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to Getting People to Open Up

  1. Alec says:

    Last week’s youth group opener: “Good bad or otherwise, share one memory from a past Christmas.”

  2. Deanna says:

    We start every youth group meeting with an “Opening Question” like these and my teens love it! In fact, for fun one night, we just did a whole session of “opening questions” to really give them a chance to get to know each other. One of my favorites to really get people talking (teens and adults) is “If you have a scar, tell the story of how you got it. If not, share about an injury you have experienced”