Cox, Kathryn J. (editor) 1979, revised 2005. “20 Questions” Get Acquainted Team Building Activity. Columbus, OH: OSU Extension.
The original source of this activity is unknown. Variations have been published in several compilations of team building and group training exercises. However, versions were used as early as the 1960’s in Ohio 4-H camp programs and conference sessions. This activity has been used successfully in Ohio’s State 4-H Leadership Camp Staff Orientation, and by the counselors with their camper groups, each year since 1979.
As a result of participating in this activity, group participants learn each other’s names and get to know each other at a deeper level in a shorter period of time than is often possible with other types of group introductory activities.
Time Required: At least 15-20 minutes for the question & answer portion, plus 5 minutes for processing/ reflection at the end. If time is limited or groups are very large, divide participants into sub-groups of 10 to 25 people per group. It also works well to divide this activity into shorter rounds of questions & answers between other activities.
• Have participants seated or standing in a circle, so that everyone is facing everyone else.
• Use the 20 questions listed below to begin the activity, or use other questions of your own.
• Ask the first question, and ask for a volunteer to answer first. The first volunteer should say his/her full name, and then respond to the question. After the first person gives his/her response, the next person in the circle says his/her name and responds to the same question. After the second person has responded, the third person responds, and so forth until all participants have said their names and responded to the question.
• Repeat the process with as many other questions as time permits.
• End the activity and evaluate how well the objective was accomplished by asking several of the reflection items. Ask all participants to quietly think to themselves how they would answer as each reflection item is asked, Then ask a few volunteers to share their responses with the group. The reflection/processing is the most important part of the activity. It allows participants to “process” and evaluate what they did in the activity, and to realize how they and the group benefited and the extent to which they achieved the objective.
1. Where are you from, and what are one or two things you like about it?
2. What is the best program on television? …Or what book would you recommend to your friends?
3. What hobbies, sports, or other leisure time activities do you enjoy most?
4. If you could have anything you wanted for supper, what would be on the menu?
5. What do you want to be doing ten years from now?
6. What do people like most about you? …least about you? …what image would you like to portray?
7. What one day in your life would you like to live over?
8. Who was your best friend in the fourth grade, and why?
9. What is the greatest problem in the world?
10. In what ways are you like your grandparents? …different from them?
11. What is one of the most creative things you’ve ever done? …one of the most silly things?
12. If you knew you only had six months to live, how would you spend your remaining time?
13. What living person (not related to you) do you most admire?
14. If you could invent or discover one new thing, what would it be?
15. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
16. If you could go anywhere on earth for a two-week vacation, where would you go? Why?
17. What are one or two things you like about your family?
18. In what ways do you hope your life as an adult is similar to and different from your parents’ lives?
19. When do you feel most lonely? …happiest?
20. What is one thing about you that you have not shared yet, that others would find interesting?
Reflection/Processing Items: (Important! Be sure to ask several of these questions at the end of the activity.)
1. About which person did you learn the most? …the least?
2. Which people do you hope to get to know better? Why?
3. Which answer surprised you most?
4. Which person do you think/feel is most like you? Which seems least like you?
5. In what ways did this activity help you get acquainted with other group members?
6. Is it important to take time to get to know other people in your groups and teams? Why or why not?
7. If you use this activity as a leader with another group, what will you do similarly or differently?
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