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Talking Chips

Object of Play

A recurring challenge in group work is managing discussions so that every individual has a chance to contribute, and no individuals dominate the meeting. By using simple “talking chips” as a currency for contribution, a group can self-manage the flow of participation.

How to Play

  1. Before the meeting starts, each participant draws a chip (poker chip, coin, or similar) from the center of the table.
  2. A participant places his chip in the center to speak.  Once all of the chips have been placed in the center, participants may remove their chips from the center to speak in the same manner.  The process repeats.


Talking chips make the value of everyone’s contributions tangible and give everyone a chance to speak. They are just as effective at drawing out otherwise quiet participants as they are at containing dominant ones.

Talking chips is based on the idea of currency and was developed by Dave Gray, inspired by Byron Reeves’s innovative email program, Attent.