Presenters often tell me that they fear losing their train of thought. When listening to their talks I realized that for many people, the problem is not forgetting the words or main points.
Speakers freeze because they can't get from point A to point B. They know the next point but they struggle with the transition. And without transitions you will sound choppy and inexperienced.
So how do you create that smooth flow? First consider your points. Let's say your agenda items are
You don't want to simply say "Background history." You need a lead in. Your segue can be as basic as "Let's begin with some background history " Now choose another transition such as "Next we'll discuss our current situation " A transition can be phrased as a statement or question. "So what do we project for the future of the industry? .." In sales presentations it's very effective to verbalize what the customer is thinking.
"You may be wondering how much does it cost"
"At this point you may be concerned with safety."
"So what is our track record?"
Transitions are the thread that weaves all the ideas together in a cohesive fashion. They also help the audience to listen and comprehend the message. Transitions are road signs that signal you are making a new point. Here are a few transitions to bridge to your speaking points:
"That brings me to me next point which is "
"Now that we've discussed advertising, let's take a look at direct mail "
"So far we've covered compensation and benefits, the next agenda item is training.."
"In addition to cost containment, there is another area I'd like to discuss "
"Now let's consider.."
"To begin with let's take a look at "
"The next important factor is "
"I'd like to view the issue from three aspects "
"Finally, let's consider "
Remember to use transitions in all your presentations. You will have more attentive listeners, better retention and they'll think you're a real smooth talker!
Diane DiResta, President of DiResta Communications, Inc. is an International speaker, coach, and author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz. To subscribe to Impact Player, a free online newsletter visit http://www.diresta.com.