Transitions are one of the best kept secrets in public speaking. Find out why and how to use them in this short tutorial presented by Michael Foster.
A transition is simply the words you say that connect one section of your presentation to another. The reason they are so important is because, when done well, they are critical to ensuring audiences can easily follow your content.
In this tutorial Michael explains that, regardless of how good or bad you are as a public speaker, at some stage during your presentation the attention of your audience will wander. This is completely outside of your control and can be due to any number of reasons, from a bird flying past the window, to traffic noises in the street or even a phone vibrating in someone’s pocket. Whatever the distraction, after the few seconds the audience member is likely to try to tune back into listening to you. At this stage, the harder it is to get back into your story, the less likely the audience member is to keep trying and many may eventually stop listening altogether. It is like trying to follow a film with a convoluted plot – a few lines of missed dialogue can mean the difference between knowing what’s happening and feeling completely lost, which is turn can have a huge impact on your enjoyment. Transitions help audiences by making it easy for them to quickly orientate themselves back into your content.
Michael gives an example of two transitions – one good and one bad – then compares the two, making it clear what makes a good one. Finally, he highlights how rehearsing transitions is a fantastic test for whether your content holds together. He explains that if you struggle to find the words to connect two sections of your content, this should sound alarm bells. At the very least, it should encourage you to consider whether those two sections should be included, and if so whether they are in the right order. This is because if you are unable to connect your content, your audience has no chance.
Watch this tutorial and ensure every presentation flows rather than jars.
For more tips, check out my new book – Everything You Never Knew About Public Speaking – available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback.