We’re used to that ‘Pick a card, any card’ phrase perhaps from Dynamo or David Blaine or David Copperfield.
But not from a business person at the very start of a meeting.
When it happened to me recently, the impact was stunning. Let me tell you why.
A mentoring client (Phil) had hastily arranged a meeting with me in between two speaking assignments in the same hotel last week in Sydney. “How about we do it over lunch — you have to eat!” he said.
We sat down, ordered and ‘caught up’.
And just before the food arrived, Phil produced not a pack of cards but 6 pieces of apparently blank paper each about the same size as a playing card.
“Pick a card, any card,” he said as he fanned out the pieces of paper before me.
I did. Phil picked it up, turned it over and said “Great choice!”
Then he showed me the writing — in his hand-writing — on the back of the card I’d chosen. It said simply ‘Update on Lawyers’.
“Right so that’s where we’ll start,” he said. “Let me give you a quick update on where we are with the Legal Training program we’re creating so you can see what needs to be done.”
We finished that topic quickly. “OK, Paul, pick another card, any card.”
And again he carefully fanned out the cards before me.
This time, my chosen card said ‘Overseas’. “Oh great choice again. Let me give you an update on some ventures I’m looking at overseas.”
And he did.
At this point I stopped him for just a second or two. This was a fascinating meeting to be in. “This is a great, great way to run a meeting — no boring agenda and one just full of surprises,” I told him. “Would you mind if I use it too?”
Phil said, “Go for it, it is fun isn’t it? Now ….. pick a card any card.”
And so it continued at a rapid, rapid pace right on to the last card. That last card read, ‘Missing chapter.’
And Phil dipped into his bag and handed me a beautifully bound version of a great chapter on culture.
It was great to get.
But the thing that really was great to get was a great way of running a meeting between friends.
Try it. You might just love it like I did.