Using Transition Phrases to Keep Your Audience Engaged in Your Presentation

You’ve worked hard at making your presentation convincing with key messages and pictures. Let’s be honest, however. Even the most interested audience will wander off mentally at least once during your presentation.

Many won’t be able to fight the compulsion to take a look at their smart phones. So how should you keep your audience included and involved in the discussion?

Transition Expressions

Savvy speakers use Transition/Linking Phrases as the magic that binds their musings so they can move consistently from one point to another.

It’s important to compose your presentation so everything underpins one principle thought. Create a few key headlines to support that idea and then further expound with realities, accounts, contextual investigations, visuals and other evidence.

Also including transitions to connect sentences and key messages will enable the audience to move from thought to thought. Transitions can represent the moment of truth of your presentation. Linking phrases can transform your presentation into a unified whole.

Transitions can likewise be tricky. You have to use words other than “yet,” “in any case,” and “furthermore.” The words you use will fill in as punctuation marks and entice the audience to listen to your next points. Continue giving them the road map to follow all through your presentation.

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

  • I’d prefer to support­­­­____from three principle viewpoints…
  • I’d like to discuss____from these three central perspectives…
  • Let’s cover____with three essential elements as a top priority…

Getting From Here to There

Launch your first key message with an expression that says it’s your first point:

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

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

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

In between each key message, as you start the transition to your next chunk take a look at your audience. Do they appear to be engaged? Are their eyes on you or are they reading their email messages? On the off chance that you feel you’re losing your audience, stop and inquire as to whether anyone needs explanation of a point you’ve made. Perhaps something truly is befuddling that requires further explanation.

Or, it could simply be that it’s drawing near to lunch and people are eager. Whatever the explanation, you must recover their attention. So pause, and allow them to get back in sync with you.

When you are done introducing your key messages, rehash them, starting with a phrase such as, “I’ve just covered the three most important points about… ”

 The Closer

Now the audience is prepared for your closing comments. Please don’t use, “in conclusion …” because that’s the signal you’ve arrived at the finish of your presentation and it’s alright to intellectually tune out.

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

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

Call to Action

Don’t simply state, “Thanks for listening” when you’re done. Preface that with what you need the audience to do after the presentation. Include a call to action:

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

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

Are there transition phrases that you use in your presentations that you find especially valuable? If so, leave us a comment below. We’d love to know what they are.

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The Newman Group is a recognized leader in guiding business professionals, celebrities and authors to improve their communications skills in presentations and media interviews.

Our highly skilled and experienced professionals have the expertise in media and presentation training to meet any business situation — from helping an executive to prepare for the challenge of talking to a reporter during a business crisis to presenting a group of investors during an IPO or keeping a celebrity spokesperson on point.