Building BridgesThumball

Dive into the dynamics of building trust!

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Look under your thumb and share!

The Building Bridges Thumball™ focuses on issues of trust. Discuss factors that contribute to the development of trust, and building trusting relationships in the process. Simply toss the ball and ask the recipient to share a reaction to whatever prompt lies under their thumb. Thumballs are soft-sided 6" stuffed balls. They look like a soccer ball but are soft and safe for indoor use.


Trust allows us to take risks, open up, and look for mutually beneficial solutions when conflicts occur. Trust gives us peace of mind when we need to rely on one another, and comfort to share our vulnerabilities. Like a bridge, trust also brings people together and deepens relationships. Then, with strong relationship, we enjoy emotional support, confidence, reduced stress, good health, and happiness. Building trust starts with communication - asking the right questions and taking the time to listen.

The Building Bridges Thumball provides 32 discussion prompts, engineered to foster respect and develop shared understanding about our commonalities, values, and sensitivities. Trust allows us to take risks, open up, and look for mutually beneficial solutions when conflicts arise. Building trust starts with communication - asking the right questions and taking the time to listen.

  1. Why do people fight?
  2. What are you grateful for?
  3. What contributes to distrust
  4. Who do you turn to for help?
  5. Who have you helped recently?
  6. What's your greatest hope?
  7. What makes you feel proud?
  8. Is it ever okay to break a promise?
  9. How do you show respect?
  10. What keeps you up at night?
  11. Who do you trust with your secrets?
  12. Who “has your back”?
  13. Name one thing to do that will build bridges between people
  14. What personality characteristics do you value most?
  15. What's important enough to fight for?
  16. How do you prefer to communicate? (in person, phone, text, skype…)
  17. Who most misunderstands you?
  18. What might be the impact of admitting mistakes?
  19. Are “white lies” okay? Why/why not?
  20. Who do you consider to be your “family”?
  21. What topics are hardest to discuss?
  22. How do you decide if someone is trustworthy?
  23. Do you tend to say “I don't know” or make something up? Why?
  24. How can we build trust in one another?
  25. How do you make others feel safe?
  26. What is “active listening” and why is it important?
  27. Do you ever resist asking for help? When? Why?
  28. Do you feel safe to disagree? Why?
  29. Is withholding information the same as misinforming?
  30. How can teams develop deeper trust?
  31. Describe the last time you said “I'm sorry”
  32. What's more important, being nice or being genuine? Why?

[NOTE: Silver Series Conversation Prompts are available as Thumballs, UNZiP-IT! Pocket & Deck, and Virtual/Remote PPT.]

** TIPS **

Facilitation Suggestions

Expect to adapt your use of this tool to the needs and experience of your group.

Some may be able to give quick or pat answers to a prompt; others might want to take some time to discuss or brainstorm best practices; still others might benefit from delving into a conversation about how trust impacts relationships in order to discuss why it's important.

If a player finds a prompt particularly difficult, invite them to take a PASS, ASK A FRIEND, or request a DISCUSSION about why it matters.


  • Discuss similarities or differences in replies.
  • Have everyone respond to the same prompt.
  • Discuss the long-term implications of various actions.

©Trainers Warehouse – Trainers Warehouse holds the copyright for this set of questions. Reproductions cannot be made without express approval.


1 Review Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    All thumballs are amazing!

    Used it at a network mixer and it was very memorable! Great way to start a conversation!

Building BridgesThumball

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