Thumballs

Roll, toss, or pass around our icebreaker ball to break the ice, dive into deep conversation, or simply start talking!  Each conversation ball is loaded with 32 prompts to get the conversation rolling and foster discussion about topics meaningful to your group. Decide which Trainers Warehouse Thumball is right for you!  Besides being a blast for participants, these conversation starters can work wonders in improving retention. After all, close work friendships can boost employee satisfaction 50% (Gallup - State of the American Workplace)  

Explore the THUMBALLS INFOGRAPHIC  or  Read Tips on CHOOSING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS to Start a Conversation 

  • Diversity Thumball

    Diversity Thumball

    BLTHAD6

    $31.95
  • Large Mesh Bag; lime green

    Large Mesh Bag

    BLTHABAG

    $8.50
  • Getting to Know You Thumball

    Getting to Know You Thumball

    BLTHAG6

    $31.95
  • Icebreaker Thumball

    Icebreaker Thumball

    BLTHBK6

    $19.99
  • Session Openers Thumball

    Session Openers Thumball

    BLTHAS6

    $31.95
  • Be a Leader Thumball

    Be A Leader Thumball

    BLTHAN6

    $31.95
  • What Makes You You? Thumball -thumbnail

    What Makes You You Thumball

    BLTHAM6

    $31.95
  • Toolbox Talks Thumball

    Toolbox Talks (Safety) Thumball

    BLTHAH6

    $31.95
  • Get Happy at Work Thumball

    Get Happy at Work Thumball

    BLTHAJ6

    $31.95
  • Team Dynamics Thumball

    Team Dynamics Thumball

    BLTHAT6

    $31.95
  • Create-Your-Own Thumball with Permanent Marker

    Create-your-own Thumball 6" w/ Permanent Marker

    BLTHAC6

    $31.95
  • Shaped by Our Past Thumball

    Shaped by Our Past Thumball

    BLTHAP6

    $31.95

CONVERSATION BALL FAQ

  • Any learning experience should be tied to your goals and the needs of your group. Start by considering how well your players already know each other. Then, consider which goals will best serve your needs:

    • Break the ice – simple, easy-to-answer questions
    • Find common ground – help players identify others with whom they might connect
    • Build stronger relationships – more in-depth questions that may require more thought
    • Dig deeper into a specific topic – have rich conversations about teams, leadership, diversity, ethics, happiness, stress, safety, etc.

    The How Deep Should I Go Infographic, will help you discover Thumballs best suited for each goal.
  • The idea is for Thumball experiences to be fun. When using a conversation ball, minimize stress for tentative players by welcoming them to:

    • Toss again
    • Take a Pass
    • Pick their favorite question
    • Create their own question
    • Signal when they’re ready to answer
  • Unfortunately, the minimum order for a customized Thumball is over 500 units. If you’d like to develop your own prompts for an icebreaker ball that’s uniquely tailored to your group, consider these options:

    1. Create-your-Own Thumball – write on a ball with a permanent marker. We suggest permanent because we don’t want your writing to rub off when players toss and catch the ball.
    2. Write on a Beach Ball – go super low-tech and write prompts on a beach ball. It might take a while to blow it up, but it also stores flat for travel.
    3. Develop an UNZIP-it! Card Deck – The minimum order for these is closer to 10 decks.
  • The Create-Your-Own Thumball requires the use of a permanent marker so that the prompts don’t smudge or rub off when players toss and catch the conversation balls.
  • Create your own. See the question above. Alternatively, you can use an UNZIP-it Card Deck. The pockets and cards are still fun and have the same content, but you can pull out the cards that you prefer to exclude.
  • We’re told by Thumball fanatics that the conversation balls energize players but don’t get them riled up. Some facilitators have a round of “just-tossing-no-talking” – that is, throw the ball from player to player before starting any conversation. That way, each player can see, touch, and toss the ball prior to diving into the content.
  • START STRONG: As with any game or icebreaker, explain why you’re doing it – to put people at ease, build relationships, learn names, articulate goals, make deep conversations fun, etc.

    BASIC METHOD OF PLAY:
    • Roll, pass, toss, or kick Thumball™ among players.
    • Specify which thumb to look under for the prompt.
    • Ask players to respond to the prompt.


    VARIATIONS: Feel free to adapt the experience to your group. These options may help you kick it up a notch:
    • Have multiple players respond to the same prompt.
    • Guess how another player might answer.
    • Discuss similarities or differences in replies.
    • Ask players to choose a prompt they really want to answer.
    • Specify that answers should relate to personal or workplace experiences.
    • Have players recall answers given by previous responders before adding their own.
    • Ask the recipient of the conversation ball to select a prompt to which all players must respond or contribute.
    • Survey players on several question panels, then create charts or graphs that reflect the cumulative responses.
  • Unfortunately, we only produce Trainers Warehouse Thumballs in English.
  • CREATE GROUND RULES!

    Have players work together to develop a set of ground rules. Write the ground rules down for all to see. Use a flip chart, whiteboard, or post ground rules signs that are consistent with what the group stated.
    • We suggest the players come up with the rules (rather than being told what they are) because they tend to be more committed to abiding by them when they’ve been the ones to articulate them. The group's list will likely look something like this:
      • Speak only for yourself
      • No personal attacks
      • Listen – make sure everyone feels heard and validated
      • Only one person speaks at a time
      • Use “I” statements
      • Agree to disagree; disagree without being disagreeable
      • Critique ideas, not people
      • Be positive and non-judgemental; open to new ideas


      MORE TIPS (if conversations get sticky…)

      1. Pause the conversation so you can review the ground rules with the group.
      2. As the facilitator, share how an experience made you feel.
      3. Ask others how an experience made them feel.
      4. If two parties disagree, suggest that they switch roles and make the counter-argument.
      5. Create a “parking lot” for issues and ideas you need to revisit and delve into more deeply.
      6. Offer players to say “OUCH” to let others know something has been hurtful without having to dive into a longer retort.
      7. Allow attendees to volunteer their participation as they feel comfortable.
      8. Ask others for input on how they have handled similar situations.
      9. Be ready to share some of your own personal stories.
      10. Take a break. Stop for a while and regroup.
      11. Thank participants for sharing their personal stories.
  • Absolutely. Have a look at these Trainers Warehouse Thumballs facilitation notes.  Or, browse our WorkSMART blog for more ideas on building communication and relationships at work.

VETTED BY CONTENT EXPERTS

Keep it casual or go deep—we have an icebreaker ball for every occasion. All the work is done for you, and the content of each ball has been thoroughly vetted by content experts. If you don’t want to toss a ball, we have plenty of other conversation starters available. Our UNZIP-IT! Pockets, Online Activities, and Conversation Decks deliver the same fantastic content in different formats. We also offer a Visual Explorer Kit that uses powerful photo metaphors to stimulate discussion.

100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

Order a full set of conversation balls with confidence, knowing your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re not completely delighted with any of our tools, we’ll be happy to provide a refund, exchange, or credit. Our icebreaker ball selection is just one example of the unique items we carry. Trainers Warehouse is like a candy store for trainers and educators, so shop around to find innovative, effective, and fun tools that energize and engage your team. Buy a set of Thumballs for team building or getting acquainted.