You may be familiar with the 36 questions to fall in love, created by psychologist Arthur Aron, who studied the process of falling in love in a laboratory. The experiment of 20 years ago was popularized recently as voluntary subjects experimented with inducing love on their own. But for those of us spending at least 40 hours each week at work, our relationships in the workplace are important drivers of happiness and success, too.

In our webinar, “The Neuroscience of Great Feedback,” Chris Yeh discusses the 36 questions and how a similar development of trust is essential in the workplace.

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The example resonated with our audience, with one attendee asking if there was a similar set of questions that could be used to develop work relationships. Yeh graciously agreed to modify the questions to fit professional relationships.

While we cannot promise the scientific validity of our version of the questions, this list of work-related questions should be helpful for those wanting to align and improve communication on teams. Try these in your next one-on-one.

Set 1:

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
  4. What would constitute a “perfect” work day for you?
  5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
  6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
  7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
  8. Name three things you and your partner (e.g. manager or direct report) appear to have in common.
  9. For what in your life at work do you feel most grateful?
  10. If you could change anything about the way you were educated and trained, what would it be?
  11. Take four minutes and tell your coworker your life story in as much detail as possible.
  12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

  1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
  2. Is there something in your career that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  3. What is the greatest accomplishment of your career?
  4. What do you value most in a friendship?
  5. What is your most treasured work memory?
  6. What is your most terrible work memory?
  7. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living at work? Why?
  8. What does friendship mean to you?
  9. What roles do love trust and affection play in your life?
  10. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your coworker. Share a total of five items.
  11. How close and warm was your previous team? Do you feel your workplaces have been more positive than most other people’s?
  12. Tell me about your relationship with your first boss.

Set III

  1. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …”
  2. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone at work with whom I could share …”
  3. If you were going to become a close friend with a coworker, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
  4. Tell your manager what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
  5. Share with your coworker an embarrassing moment in your life.
  6. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  7. Tell your coworker something that you like about them already.
  8. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  9. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
  10. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  11. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
  12. Share a work problem and ask your manager’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your manager to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Watch “The Neuroscience of Great Feedback” now to learn more about using strategies like 36 questions in the workplace.