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Public Speaking Course: 

Transitions

Most books and articles written on public speaking techniques will tell you that in order to be a polished speaker you must tie all your information together. You must lead your audience and let them know  that you are getting ready to give them slightly different, but related information. This is called transition, or segue (pronounced seg-way).

I fully believe transitions are necessary if you want your audience members so bored that they fall right out of their chairs and smash their heads on the floor. For an example of what kind of transition is more fun, lets pretend were at the amusement park. If you look around for awhile you will see that all the excitement is over on the roller coaster where the transitions are sharp. They are sharp and exciting even though you can see them coming. There is also excitement at the bumper cars too where you can get blind-sided because cars are coming at you from all directions. There isn't any excitement over at the kiddie choo choo train where turns and motion are mild so the little ones don't get too upset. That awareness should be incorporated in what you learn from your public speaking course.

OK, I'll admit, some thought should be given to transition, especially with older, more traditional audiences, or if you have a very highly informative speech. But you don't have to be a boring, snoozer presenter by saying things like, ." . . speaking of tacos. I'm now going to talk about tacos."

You could, however, do a transition like that and then make fun of yourself
for doing it by saying something like, "Don't you think that transition
was really smooth?"

Transitions are one of the places where you could definitely plan to use some well needed humorous material. This works well with technical audiences because they won't feel you are wasting their time. Since, in their minds, you are REQUIRED to do a transition anyway, it's OK if it's funny.

As you master everything from your public speaking course, you will learn that transitions
aren't important at all for 85 percent of funny presenters or stand-up comics. You can just speak away and as long as they are laughing, no one much cares about transitions. If you are not in this category, then you can begin paying closer attention to bridging the gaps between your points and topics. Just don't be too boring and don't think you have to say something to the audience in order to make the transition. After your public speaking course you will see a  good presenter does not demand a transition.

You can make transitions instead by changing your stage position, pausing, using visual aids, giving out a handout, picking up a prop or sharply varying the sound you make come out of the public address system. Do anything that breaks the pattern of what you were doing in the previous segment and introduces something new and different to do.

For verbal transitions, one-liners, anecdotes, and questions work well. Also, people seem to like and need recaps, so I am in favor of saying things like, "To recap this section . . ."

When exercising your skills from your public speaking course, whatever you do, think in terms of roller coasters and bumper cars so you keep your audience excited and alert all the time.

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