As soon as you hear those words you know what’s coming.

Whether it’s a youngster performing a simple trick through to the restaurant table professional who is about to blow your mind between courses, the set-up is the same.

It’s reassuring, but what makes ‘Pick a card work’ is the opportunity to create a surprise.

You think you know how it’s going to end but you also want to be surprised.

You can use this technique in many areas of life. I particularly enjoy seeing this when I’m coaching writers.

Give the reader something they know – a hook – lead them down a familiar path and then… BAM a shock.

Readers enjoy familiarity but they also want a surprise.

Where can you use the pick a card principle?

Familiarity and surprise.

Your job is to provide both.

I’d love to know your ideas. Please leave a comment below.

Be Brilliant!



  1. February 17th 2022 by Alison Mary Higginson

    I like to use this in my first aid training, asking things that most people would know and then turning it on its head. Such as an overdose on energy drinks can stop your heart.

  2. February 17th 2022 by Sue Trusler

    Familiarity of a circle. Paint some circles and what can you turn them into : a Flamingo, a big spider, a caterpillar- used this at the end of my art Stream and had quite a few ideas put forward as engagement before I showed the three things.

  3. February 17th 2022 by Bonaventura Apicella

    I could use this to make a point with a serious subject being discussed or for a joke. It is something that can be used at work, in many aspects of life, the list is endless. Would you like roses, evergreen with red color, or a splash of blue for your flower border? Pick a card.

  4. February 17th 2022 by Sylvia

    Michael I don’t know what puzzle this is can you explain I haven’t had emails like this before apart from you what are you asking if anything,?

  5. February 18th 2022 by Rob Tearle

    Did you pick the Ace of Spades….no I chose a birthday card…one of my old teachers did what Freddie Starr once did to Ali by bringing him closer using a hushed voice then bang with the punchline

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