How to Transition Speech Topics

Public Speaking – 10 Ways to Transition to Your Next Idea

We talk a lot about organizing our content, main points, opening and closing, but we rarely talk about how to get from one segment to the next.

How do you handle the spaces in between your points, stories, examples, and exercises? These are your transitions.

It’s as important to plan your transitions as it is to plan the rest of your presentation. Clear transitions help the audience stay focused (and awake) and process your material. They’re like links in a chain that keep your presentation cohesive and organized.

Here are ten ways to transition from one idea to the next.

1. Repeat and recap the main point you just covered.

2. Use humor or tell a joke that closes your previous point.

3. Show a slide or give a handout that gets the audience thinking about your next segment.

4. Ask a question that previews the next segment and write the answers on a flip chart.

5. Ask a question that gets the audience to respond to or summarize their learning from the last segment and write the answers on a flip chart.

6. Have the audience stand up and stretch.

7. Share a quote or story that summarizes your previous point or leads to the next one.

8. Use a logical chronology of points, or numbered points, so that transitions are clear (your talk goes from biggest to smallest, longest to shortest, outside to inside, general to specific, 1960 to 1980, etc.).

9. Pause or take a drink of water before moving to the next point.

10. Physically move to a different part of the room or stage.

Incorporate clear transitions into your presentation and your audience will never be confused about what comes next or how you’re going to get there!

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Lisa Braithwaite works with individuals to uncover their challenges and build their strengths in presenting themselves confidently as speakers. Find your voice with public speaking coaching! Sign up for the Presentation Pointers newsletter or a free consultation at And check out the Speak Schmeak blog.

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