When you meet with an old or new customer, or a friend you have not spoken to in a while, then often the ice needs to be broken and communications re-established. An intriguing way to start a conversation is to say that you are an open book, or that you have nothing to hide. The storytelling possibilities are endless. Every one of us has that classic tale, that one story of how things would have been much better if the facts were on the table to begin with. Even if it is a completely made-up story.
Use this short story to start a conversation and get them listening. With a person one on one, or with a small group – anyone that you’re connecting with. For example:
You know, I am a shy person. I used to work on the 3rd floor for 2 years since I joined the company. I always felt like something was wrong. I wish they told me earlier that my desk was on the 5th floor :-)
Now, that you got their full attention, you can start talking about the two of you … For example:
I like to keep things open and honest. Do you believe in disclosure? Hang on – that is a big word. Do you have anything you want to put on the table. I hope you don’t have one of these …
Some extra lines you can try (to build the intrigue even more)
- When you were younger did you ever play hide the agenda and seek?
- Have you ever seen an agenda that is so neat and well laid out?
You reach to where you have the “hidden AGENDA” and place it face down in the palm of your hand.
Here is mine. I hope yours is going to be out in the open too.
Take a few moments to reveal the surprise. Then, slowly turn it over and look the person/s in the eye. It may take them a moment to get this as it’s quite lateral.
Here, my agenda is now out in the open. It is not hidden any more. It was in my pocket the entire time, but now it is here for everyone to see. So, do you have a hidden agenda? Because I’ve shown you mine.
Some extra lines you can try (to better make the point)
- May this be the last hidden agenda we ever see.
- This agenda is coming out of hiding. It has been on the run for way too long.
Pick up the AGENDA and show it around.
Life is always better when things are honest and open. So, no hidden agendas please.
As the old saying goes: Honesty is always the best policy.
Some other lines you can try (if you feel like they still hide something from you)
- Has anyone ever passed you an agenda before … no? Then go ahead, take it. This agenda is now yours to hide.
- To hide an agenda is a very interesting challenge. Where would you hide yours?
- May I hide my agenda in your pocket for a while. Just for safekeeping. You don’t want your agenda falling into the wrong hands.
- Imagine that – now it is ok to have a hidden agenda.
- I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours.
If you want to lighten the mood, or make a devious point in a meeting or negotiation, slip the hidden agenda into someone’s jacket pocket and ask them what they have in their pocket, or simply pretend that you just pulled it from their pocket or laptop bag. And then you ask: “What’s this? I didn’t know you had a hidden agenda …”