Using Transition Phrases to Keep Your Audience Engrossed in Your Presentation

Rambler_01You’ve worked hard at creating your presentation with compelling key messages and images. Let’s face it, though. Even the most interested listener will wander off mentally at least once during your presentation.

Many won’t be able to resist the temptation to take a peek at their smart phones. So how do you keep your audience involved and following the discussion?

Transition Phrases

Savvy speakers use Transition/Linking Phrases as the glue that holds their thoughts together so they can move seamlessly from one point to another.

It’s important to organize your presentation so that everything supports one main idea. Develop two to three key headlines to support that idea and then further elaborate with facts, anecdotes, case studies, visuals and other evidence.

Also including transitions to connect sentences and key messages will help the audience move from idea to idea. Transitions can make or break your presentation. Linking phrases can turn your presentation into a unified whole.

Transitions can also be tricky. You need to use words other than “but,” “however,” and “in addition.” The words you use will serve as punctuation marks and entice the audience to listen to your next points. Keep giving them the road map to follow throughout your presentation.

After you’ve introduced your main theme, consider the following transition phrases to get started:

  • I’d like to support­­­­____from three main aspects…
  • I’d like to discuss____from these three fundamental points of view…
  • Let’s cover____with three essential elements in mind…

Getting From Here to There

Launch your first key message with a phrase that says it’s your first point:

  • First, lets start with…
  • My first point covers…
  • I will talk first about…

Stick to that “chunk” of content and don’t jump to your other key messages until you conclude with a phrase like:

  • Moving on to our next area of interest…
  • Now, I’d like to discuss…
  • Our next important element is…

Flèches dorées - directions opposéesIn between each key message, as you begin the transition to your next chunk look at your audience. Do they seem engaged? Are their eyes on you or are they reading their email messages? If you feel you’re losing your audience, pause and ask if anybody needs clarification of a point you’ve made. Maybe something really is confusing that requires further explanation.

Or, it could just be that it’s getting close to lunch and people are restless. Whatever the reason, you’ve got to regain their attention. So pause, and give them a chance to get back in sync with you.

When finished with presenting your key messages, repeat them, beginning with a phrase such as, “I’ve just covered the three most important points about…”

 The Closer

Now the audience is ready for your closing remarks. Please don’t use, “In conclusion…” because that’s the signal you’ve come to the end of your presentation and it’s OK to mentally tune out.

Instead, keep them listening with a more compelling phrase such as:

  • What I want you to take away from…
  • The thought I’d like to leave you with…
  • I strongly recommend that…

Call to Action

Don’t just say, “Thanks for listening” when you’re finished. Preface that with what you want the audience to do after the presentation. Include a call to action:

  • What I’d like to ask you to do now…
  • Can I ask for your support in…
  • My intention today is to convince you to take the next step and…

Transition phrases are the audience’s lifeline to your presentation. Choose them carefully so that your audience knows exactly where you are at any point in time. They will also help to keep you on track, so that you don’t begin wandering off topic and lose your own sense of direction.

Are there transition phrases that you use in your presentations that you find particularly effective? Please leave us a comment. We’d love to know what they are.


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