Presentation Skills: Presentation Preparation, TransitionsTransitions: Connecting The Parts Of Your Presentation
Why Transitions Are Important... And How To Use Them
Why bother about transitions? The answer is simple: even if you've created the perfect presentation, with the perfect beginning, middle and end, you still need to connect the parts smoothly and seamlessly.
Good transitions accomplish two things primarily. They provide a natural link from one main idea or section to another. They can also serve as both a summary of what you've just discussed, while providing a glimpse at what you're about to discuss next. As such, transitions are useful to both you, the presenter, and useful to your audience as well. Few things, in fact, can distract an audience faster than a speaker seeming to jump from one idea to another, with no apparent logic or purpose. You do not want your listeners to wonder how you went from a discussion about point A to a discourse on point Bwithout logically connecting points A and B.
Bridging from point-to-point.
Once you've created a strong opening to your presentation, your next challenge is to bridge smoothly from that to the beginning part of your talk. If you've created a logical, orderly outline, then moving from idea to idea or section to section becomes a lot easier.
One proven technique is to set the context and tone of your presentation at the beginning, as well as the direction in which you're going to lead your audience. That way, you'll have prepared your listeners for what's to come, and in what sequence. This is roughly similar to a book's table of contents, with chapter headings to guide the reader. A presentation, of course, will have fewer main ideas or sections. But the principle is the same.
Tell them where they've beenů and where you're taking them next.
Where appropriate, a transition can also serve as a summary of what you've just covered, reinforcing your key points and bringing a sense of closure to the section. At the same time, it serves as a springboard into the next segment, rekindling your listeners' interest and preparing them for what comes next.
Do's and don't's when using transitions.
Transitions are links in a chain, connecting one part of your presentation to another. But be careful not to use too few - or too many - of them. They shouldn't be so brief that they fail to summarize the most important points you've just covered, or fail to give your listeners a clear sense of what's coming next. They shouldn't be so long either, that they restate what's not most important. Nor should a transition tell your listeners too much of what they're about to hear.