3 Easy Ways to Transition Flawlessly
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
Sentences don’t like being bound together.
They don't come packaged neatly in a nice, coherent sentence. Rather, some tweaking has to be done to enable sentences to flow smoothly. Writers (speech writers, too!) apply speech transitions to make this happen.
Why speech transitions?
Are they really that important? Quite simply, yes. Jumping between topics in a speech without thoughtful transitions can make it tough for your audience to keep track of your points.
Last week we discussed about how a presentation needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. But this week, we’re going to talk about how the way you transition between sections is equally as important.
For children especially, this could not be even more true. Children could be trained with creative points and illustrious ideas to talk about. They could be taught to have near limitless vocabulary, perfect grammar and sentence structure, but at the end of the day still be unable to deliver a speech that actually makes sense!
More often than not, the reason for this is because of the lack of good and suitable transitions. Much like its written counterpart, speech transitions let your audience know that you are about to wrap up one point and move on to the next. This way your listeners know you’re moving on to another idea.
In a second, we’ll dive into a few excellent phrases that allow you to transition freely like a pro in public speaking. But first, here are a few tricks that you can use to ensure your speech never comes across as jagged and disconnected.
1. The Once-Over
This technique works best when two or more people are presenting together. It is an effective method to transition between speakers who are speaking about topics that are related to each other. More often that not, speakers would opt for the easier “and now I’ll pass it on to so-and-so” baton pass.
Instead of that however, next time try providing a short summary of your points, and if possible, briefly preview the next speaker and topic. The new speaker, coming in would then thank the first speaker and launch directly into their topic.
The review-preview transition works well for a single speaker, too. Before moving onto a new idea, summarize what you’ve just talked about and then briefly introduce what’s coming.
2. It’s All In The Signs
Transition words are the key to producing a flowing speech that feels completely natural. Knowing the right word to use in the right situation can do wonders to create smooth transitions that add meaning onto sentence context. A few examples are:
but, on the other hand, however, comparatively, equally, uniquely, furthermore, as well as, likewise, again
Transitional words like “but” and “on the other hand” indicate an opposing force. This is a sign to audiences that the message being conveyed is taking on a different course. On the other hand (see what I did there?), words like “likewise” and “furthermore” indicate similarity, or agreement to a previous idea.
Similar to how planes align themselves to well-lit cones lined up on runway, transitional words serve as signs that guide audiences and help them get into the rhythm of a talk, ensuring that the speaker's message lands safely on audiences' ears.
3. Tested and Proven
Finally, it’s important to practice transitioning smoothly. As you practice and rehearse your speech, pay extra attention to how your points flow between each other. Do they overlap unnecessarily? Are there too many gaps between points? Can the relationship between certain points be clearly seen?
Grab a buddy and practice your transitions in front of them and see how confused they get! If at the end of it all, they’re still following word for word, great! But if they aren’t, don’t worry. Perform some tweaks to make your transitions work.
You can also practice your transitions into a recording device for self-evaluation.
Following these tips, it’s easy to create smooth transitions! Simply using the right transitional words to bring out context can have a profound impact on how smooth your speech flows with audiences.
Before concluding this week’s blog, we have a few phrases to share. We find these phrases to be very effective in spicing up a speech and letting you, the speaker, glide between points:
· The next point I’d like to make is…
· Moving right along…
· That brings us to…
· In fact…
· Not only …
· As you can see from these examples…