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Non-verbal Transitions

Many people don't realize how important transitions are when speaking. They are what makes good conversation flow and what make many speakers seem eloquent.

Plan your transitions and vary them so you don't put an audience to sleep or in to a pattern by always using the same transitions.

Non-verbal transitions include things like:

  1. Pausing with your voice. This one over done can seem like you have lost your train of thought. I will tell you that most speakers UNDER USE the pause. It can be very effective especially if you just gave a thought provoking statement.
  2. Visually transferring by PowerPoint. You can have a visual slide pop up that shows the audience what points you have covered and what points are up coming. This works best when you stick to having only 3-5 key points in a talk.
  3. Your body movement on the stage. You can physically move to make a point or transition. This can be very effective if you break the "stage" space down so you use the back for in the past, the front right (your right as you face out) to share strong points and statements, and the front left to share thoughts or feelings. Then when you go back to a point you can physically move to that point on the stage. Remember this has to look natural otherwise it comes off as contrived.
  4. Using your fingers to count off points. This works extremely well when you pair this with saying things like, "first we covered, now we will look at our second point"

Transitions are something I find most speakers NEVER think about. They imagine that once they are in front of the crowd their mind will just magically think of the right thing to say.

Find a selection of transitions that work for you. They are what anchors what you have said, ties your thoughts together, and are a critical part of your audience's road map to your presentation.