Using Transitions Effectively in Presentations

Posted by Tommye Johnson on June 4, 2013

Have you ever sat through a stilted, disjointed presentation that hopped from one thought to the next, with no logical direction? These presentations can leave the listener thinking, “I wonder where we are?”

In these scenarios, the presenter has failed to provide the appropriate indicators as to where his or her thoughts were going next. Think of it this way: a presentation is like a journey one leads an audience on – and without some sort of map, or logical direction laid out, all parties, speaker included, are likely to get lost at a fork in the road. The answer to such a need, very simply, is incorporating transitions.

Help and support signpost

Transitions are like the sign posts to your presentation journey. They signal to the audience, “take a left turn at exit 85 toward my next thought.” Or, more simply, they wrap up one idea and introduce the next idea cleanly, and establish the relationship between the two points. Transitions make it easier for the listener to keep up, and make it easier for the speaker to stay the course.

So how do you do it? Simple transitions that can be used in presentations might include indicator phrases such as:

• The reason for this could be

• With this in mind

• A great example is

• As a result

• Furthermore

• Interestingly

• However

• Another way to view this issue is

• Consequently

• Finally

If my presentation is about the key parts of an excellent speech, and my three key parts are content, flow and transitions, a transition I might be able to make between flow and transitions could be:

Flow is an important element of an excellent presentation. With this in mind, creating flow relies heavily on using transitions. Transitions are indicators of the speaker’s next main point… And so on.

As you prepare for your next presentation, take some time to lay out your thoughts and organize your main points. After you know what you will be talking about, figure out how they are connected, and use transitions to smoothly make that turn for your audience.

Are there other presentation tips that help with your transitions? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.