Business dinners are interesting because you get to experience people outside their work setting. Even though business is discussed, the conversation always drifts to personal territory.
The best conversations are the ones that go deeper than casual talk. People discuss personal challenges, life lessons and future goals, topics typically reserved for family or friends. I call these conversations My Dinner with André moments.
My Dinner with André is a film about two old friends having an extended dinner in a high-end restaurant in New York City. They talk about their experiences, beliefs and expectations; it's a film about their deep conversation.
Tonight I had a My Dinner with André moment. My fellow facilitator and I were invited to a team dinner after a leadership workshop. The day had been a good one. Even though the session had been extended by ninety minute, the team remained passionate, engaged and fun. By the end, everyone was exhausted.
The man I sat next to has a fascinating life and career. The more I learned, the more questions I asked. We talked about success, the qualities of a good leader and life lessons. It was clear that his life lessons were gained from experience and reflection. Part of me wanted to write them down and part of me didn't want to miss the moment, like the vacationer who risks missing the experience by photographing it.
The evening ended about ninety minutes after I thought it would. I felt that something important had happened. I had a deep conversation with someone I had met for the first time. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a moment I don't want to forget.