034: Mini Moved Me - On Holding the Con

Today's Mini Moved Me is about the concept of holding "the con."  

I'm not talking about a "con-man"

It's a nautical term. And we use it in presentations to determine "who is steering the ship."  Not only 'who is leading this section?' - but Where should your audience look?  Who's in charge? Where should they direct their attention?

It's your job as speaker to direct your audience's attention from one thing to the next. And if you think about "who has the con" it's a really helpful exercise in intentionality.

This is especially helpful in group presentations, when you bounce from person to person.  Like at an event, when you are speaking and introducing someone else. The con shifts from one person to the next:

Sally: We were so thrilled with this year's responses, and can't wait to dive into next year...

So let's hear now from Marcus, a young man who is truly living this out.  Please welcome - Marcus:  

- And as you say "Please welcome, Marcus - and look towards him - you hand the con off to Marcus, whose job it is to pick it up, and hold it... until it's time to hand it off to someone/something else.

Or, when you're facilitating a conversation:

Sally: I'd really like to hear more from the people 'on the ground' on this issue.  Jackson, what's it looking like from your perspective?

Jackson: Well, it's looking great... 

- Sally holds the con, but then hands it off to Jackson, who takes it... If Sally is facilitating the conversation, it's her job to be ready to pick it back up if Jackson drops the con, or refuses to pick up the con, or hands it to someone else, or someone talks too long... Whoever is leading the conversation is managing who has the con.

Or even in a more traditional presentation, you might even hand the con off to a video, or visual:

Sally: We got to spend a wonderful day with Jennifer, and have a short video to show you just exactly why she deserves this prestigious award.  Take a look: 

(Sally directs audience's attention to the video, who now holds the con.)

- You can give the video the con with a verbal cue (like, "Take a look" - or, with even a small gesture. But it should be clear you are moving the focus away from you to the video..


I can tell when a presentation has been thoughtfully "steered" - from one thing to the next. When it's clear who has the con, your audience sits back and settles into the content; you control (as much as you can) to where they direct their attention; and you get to experience a seamless flow of moment to moment.

So - the next time you're developing a talk, think about - Who is holding the con right now? 

p.s. - If you've got a question for me about something that's tripping you up as you create talks that move the world, let me know. I'll do my best to answer it on the air.  THANKS!

photo credit: Sailing on Sydney Harbour (NSW) via photopin(license)