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Integrating Transitions into Speeches

Integrating Transitions into Speeches

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Determine the appropriate use of transitions in a professional presentation.

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what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn how to use transitions effectively within a speech. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. Role of Transitions
  2. Types of Transitions

1. Role of Transitions

Transitions are words, phrases, or visual devices that help the audience follow your ideas, connect the main points to each other, and see the relationships you’ve created in the information you are presenting.

Transitions are often described as bridges between ideas, thoughts, or concepts, providing some sense of where you’ve been and where you are going with your speech. They are used by the speaker to guide the audience in the progression from one significant idea, concept, or point to the next issue.

They can also show the relationship between the main point and the support the speaker uses to illustrate, provide examples, or reference outside sources.

big idea
A speech needs transitions to help the audience understand how the speaker’s main ideas are connected to one another.

term to know
In public speaking, a word, phrase, or visual device that helps the audience follow the speaker’s ideas, connect the main points to each other, and see the relationships the speaker has created in the presented information.

2. Types of Transitions

Depending on your purpose, transitions can serve different roles as you help create the glue that will connect your points together in a way the audience can easily follow.

The table below provides a summary of 14 distinct types of transitions. As you contemplate how to bring together your information, consider how you will use various transitions, and note them on your outline or draft.

Type Definition Examples
Internal Preview An internal preview is a brief statement referring to a point you are going to make. It can forecast or foreshadow a main point coming in your speech. If we look ahead to, next we’ll examine, now we can focus our attention on, first we’ll look at
Signpost A signpost alerts the audience that you are moving from one topic to the next. Signposts or signal words draw attention to themselves and focus the audience’s attention. Stop and consider, we can now address, next I’d like to explain, turning from/to, another, this reminds me of, I would like to emphasize
Internal Summary An internal summary briefly covers information or alludes to information introduced previously. It can remind an audience of a previous point and reinforce information covered in your speech. As I have said, as we have seen, as mentioned earlier, in any event, in other words, in short, on the whole, therefore, to summarize, as a result, as I’ve noted previously, in conclusion
Sequence A sequence transition outlines a hierarchical order or series of steps in your speech. It can illustrate order or steps in a logical process. First… second… third, furthermore, next, last, still, also, and then, besides, finally
Time A time transition focuses on the chronological aspects of your speech order. Particularly useful in a speech utilizing a story, this transition can illustrate progression of time for the audience. Before, earlier, immediately, in the meantime, in the past, lately, later, meanwhile, now, presently, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon as long as, as soon as, at last, at length, at that time, then, until, afterward
Addition An addition or additive transition contributes to a previous point. This transition can build on a previous point and extend the discussion. In addition to, furthermore, either, neither, besides, moreover, in fact, as a matter of fact, actually, not only, but also, as well as, not to mention
Similarity A transition by similarity draws a parallel between two ideas, concepts, or examples. It can indicate a common area between points for the audience. In the same way, by the same token, equally, similarly, just as we have seen, in the same vein
Comparison A transition by comparison draws a distinction between two ideas, concepts, or examples. It can indicate a common or divergent area between points for the audience. Like, in relation to, bigger than, smaller than, the fastest, than any other, is greater than, both, either/or, likewise, even more important
Contrast A transition by contrast draws a distinction of difference, opposition, or irregularity between two ideas, concepts, or examples. This transition can indicate a key distinction between points for the audience. But, neither/nor, however, on the other hand, although, even though, in contrast, in spite of, despite, on the contrary, conversely, unlike, while, instead, nevertheless, nonetheless, regardless, still, though, yet
Cause and Effect A transition by cause and effect illustrates a relationship between two ideas, concepts, or examples and may focus on the outcome or result. It can illustrate a relationship between points for the audience. As a result, because, consequently, for this purpose, accordingly, so, then, therefore, thereupon, thus, to this end, for this reason, as a result, because, therefore, consequently, as a consequence, and the outcome was
Example A transition by example illustrates a connection between a point and an example or examples. You may find visual aids work well with this type of transition. In fact, as we can see, after all, even, for example, for instance, of course, specifically, such as, in the following example, to illustrate my point
Place A place transition refers to a location, often in a spatially organized speech, of one point of emphasis to another. Again, visual aids work well when discussing physical location with an audience. Opposite to, there, to the left, to the right, above, below, adjacent to, elsewhere, far, farther on, beyond, closer to, here, near, nearby, next to
Clarification A clarification transition restates or further develops a main idea or point. It can also serve as a signal to a key point. To clarify, that is, I mean, in other words, to put it another way, that is to say, to rephrase it, in order to explain, this means
Concession A concession transition indicates knowledge of contrary information. It can address a perception the audience may hold and allow for clarification. We can see that while, although it is true that, granted that, while it may appear that, naturally, of course, I can see that, I admit that even though

In this lesson, you learned about the importance of using transitional words or phrases in a presentation to help your audience understand your main points. The role of transitions is to glue your ideas together and help your audience follow along with your speech. There are numerous types of transitions that you can choose from when constructing a presentation.

Best of luck in your learning!

Source: This content has been adapted from Lumen Learning's "Transitions" tutorial.

Terms to Know

In public speaking, a word, phrase, or visual device that helps the audience follow the speaker’s ideas, connect the main points to each other, and see the relationships the speaker has created in the presented information.