Effective Discussions

This month we are publishing s new deck of Practical Advice Cards on how to participate in an effective discussion. Each card in the deck of 52 cards contains an actionable guideline related to effective discussions. Each piece of advice is self-contained, evidence-based, and practical. You can play 20 different games using this deck of cards. The games can be played by different numbers of players (from 1 to 100) for different periods of time (from 10 minutes to 52 weeks). All games encourage in-depth understanding of the pieces of advice and mindful planning for their application.

You can download the how-to-play manual from Thiagi.net/PAC. No purchase is necessary.

Here’s a new game that we designed for play with this deck of card. It is not yet included in our game manual.


The players secretly select a piece of practical advice and implement it during a group discussion. After the discussion, the participants reveal which piece of advice they used and how they used it.


To improve the effectiveness of a group discussion.


  • Minimum: 3

  • Maximum: Any number, divided into groups

  • Best: 5 to 30


15 to 50 minutes


A deck of Practical Advice Cards on effective discussions.


You can order the new deck of practical advice cards on effective discussions from our secure online store.

If you don’t want to use our ready-to-play deck, prepare your own by writing suitable pieces of advice on how to participate in an effective discussion.

Here are some sample pieces of advice:

  1. Your major task is to listen. So, keep your mouth closed and ears open.

  2. Acknowledge other people’s contributions. Identify the participant, specify his or her comment, and explain why it is significant.

  3. Repeat something some other person said and make a relevant comment that builds upon that earlier statement.

  4. Share your opinion about the discussion topic. Explain that it is only an opinion and not a piece of factual information.

  5. Take a position related to the discussion topic. Specify your position in clear terms.


Announce a topic for discussion. This topic may be related to your training objective. Alternatively, it may be a general topic such as the following:

  1. All software should be programmed in open source.

  2. Cloning introduces ethical dilemmas.

  3. Driverless cars will reduce the number of automobile accidents.

  4. Everyone should receive universal basic income.

  5. Genetically modified food products should be banned.

  6. Government should impose stricter gun control.

  7. Higher education should be supported by public funding.

  8. We must improve the living conditions of poor people around the world.

  9. Parents should not be permitted to deny vaccination to their children.

  10. Political correctness prevents clear communication.

  11. The existence of God cannot be proven.

Distribute the advice cards. Give each participant five random cards with pieces of practical advice on how to participate in an effective discussion,

Select a card. Ask the participants to review the five cards they received and select the one with the best piece of advice.

Plan how to implement the selected piece of advice. Tell the participants that they will begin a discussion about the topic you announced earlier. In addition to contributing to this discussion, they should attempt to appropriately use the piece of advice they selected.

Participate in the discussion. Tell the participants not to implement the piece of advice in a forced or contrived fashion.

Set a suitable time limit. Announce this time limit and start the timer.

Conclude the discussion. When the time limit in reached, announce the end of the discussion.

Debrief the participants. Ask each participant to read the piece of advice they selected. Ask the participant to explain how he or she used it during the earlier discussion.