Why and how you should master transitions in your presentations

Hopscotching from one section to another can be baffling—if not downright annoying—for your audience. Often a simple word or phrase will help you segue and keep your listeners spellbound.

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Mastering speaking transitions

Have you ever been in the audience listening to a speaker and found yourself lost?

Maybe you weren’t exactly sure where the speaker was going or how the different points in a speech were connected.

One possible reason for such confusion is faulty or non-existent transitions.

Transitions help audience members understand the flow of your talk, making it easy for them to follow along.

These signposts tell the audience where you are going, just as signposts along the highway tell you which direction you are heading. When a speaker says, “You’ve seen what the product can do; let’s now look at market opportunity,” the audience knows that the speaker is moving on to the next topic.

Below are common types of transitions, with examples:

This moves from the opening of a talk (once you have grabbed the audience’s attention) to the main part.

Moving between main points

These signal a change between one point and another. Without them, the different points can blur together.

Comparison of similar ideas

These link concepts that align.

Comparison of contrasting ideas

These signal a counterargument.

Expanding on a point

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