Emotional Intelligence Thumball

Great Conversations to Build Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence is a skill that allows people to be more effective in their roles at work and at home. It’s not just touchy-feely stuff and being able to name your feelings. Rather, it enhances employee retention and engagement, customer service, collaboration, and crisis management.


Emotional Intelligence (a.k.a. EQ) is associated with five skills. Develop your teams’ EQ by facilitating conversations that help participants grow more aware of their motivations, measure their reactions to difficult situations, and hone techniques to manage those emotions in empathy and social acumen. The five skills are: 

  1. Self-Awareness [SA]
  2. Motivation [MO]
  3. Self-Regulation [SR]
  4. Empathy [EM]
  5. Social Skills [SS]


Each conversation prompt on the Emotional Intelligence Thumball indicates the skill with which it is associated. Use the two-letter EQ skill codes (MO, SA, SR, EM, and SS), to build awareness of the skills, while building the skills themselves!

For example:

  • "What contributes to distrust?" is followed by [EM] for Empathy
  • "How could someone regain composure after snapping?" lists [SR] for Self-Regulation
  • "What holds you back from being your best YOU?" has [SA] for Self-Awareness

30 prompts are listed on the Thumball, specifically:

  • Self-Awareness [SA] - 7 prompts
  • Motivation [MO] - 5 prompts
  • Self-Regulation [SR] - 5 prompts
  • Empathy [EM] - 6 prompts
  • Social Skills [SS] - 7 prompts


Adjust your play to make more or less of those skill areas:

  • Have recipients of the ball read the question aloud before answering. 
  • Ask other players to guess which skill is referenced by conversation prompt.
  • Discuss why that prompt is categorized that way and what other skills might be addressed
  • Answer the question for yourself
  • Have other players answer the same question
  • Discuss differences among the answers
  • If a player isn't sure how to answer, invite them "take a pass," consult a colleague, or choose another prompt
  • Don't rush! Remember that thoughtful answers sometimes take a moment to think about. Offer to come back to the person for their answer after they've had time to consider it.


In addition to Silver Series Thumballs, Trainers Warehouse offers a range of other products to help build relationships, draw out learning, and inspire conversation about meaningful topics. Such products include Conversation Cards and UNZIP-IT Decks. Some facilitators prefer decks because they enable players to have small group conversation with 1 or 2 other participants before sharing with a larger group of players. 

Emotional Intelligence Thumball

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