Chapter 5: Presentation Organization
By now you have identified your main points, chosen your organizational pattern, have written your outline, and are ready to begin putting your presentation together. But how will you connect your main points together in a relevant manner, so that your presentation appears fluid?
Transitions are words, phrases, or visual devices that help the audience follow the speaker’s ideas, connect the main points to each other, and see the relationships you’ve created in the information you are presenting. Transitions 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 for, or reference outside sources. Depending 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.
Internal summaries: a type of connective transition that emphasizes what has come before and remind the audience of what has been covered. Examples include; 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.
Internal previews: a type of connective that emphasizes what is coming up next in the speech and what to expect with regard to the content. “If we look ahead to, next we’ll examine, now we can focus our attention on, first we’ll look at, then we’ll examine…” etc.
Signposts: a type of connective transition that emphasizes physical movement through the speech content and lets the audience know exactly where they are: 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.
Time: focuses on the chronological aspects of your speech order. Particularly useful in a speech utilizing a story, this transition can illustrate for the audience progression of time. 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.
Compare/Contrast: draws a parallel or distinction between two ideas, concepts, or examples. It can indicate a common or divergent 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.
Cause and Effect or Result: 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…
Examples: 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: 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: 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…